In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon until browned. Pour off and reserve all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the lentils, broth, tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until the lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and stir in 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper.
Heat the oven to 450°. Sprinkle the salmon with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. In a large ovenproof nonstick frying pan, over moderately high heat, heat the reserved bacon fat, with enough oil to measure 2 tablespoons. Add the fish, skinned-side up, and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn. Put the pan in the oven and continue cooking the salmon until just barely done (the fish should still be translucent in the center), about 3 minutes longer for a 1-inch-thick fillet. Put the lentils on plates and top with the salmon.
Wine Recommendation: Light, acidic red wines are delightful with salmon, and the lentils and bacon only make the case for red wine stronger. Try a bottle of pinot noir from Oregon or California.
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My husband really enjoyed this recipe. I had never tried lentils before (and I'm not a big bean fan) so I just thought it was ok. The flavors in the lentils were very rich and complex, but I couldn't get past the beanie texture. Rather than cooking the salmon in the pan, I broiled it in the oven with olive oil and some seasonings. If you do like lentils then I highly recommend this dish...it would be perfect on a chilly fall evening.
Delicious, although I don't follow most recipes to the letter. I actually grilled the salmon with a hot spice rub. The lentils were really wonderful. My youngest son said he would eat them everyday, and he rarely says that. I didn't really measure my lentils, or much else, but it seems pretty foolproof. I started my lentils cooking in water, then drained them, before I added everything. I sauteed the veggies in spray, and had a huge carrot, so it was probably like 2. I did not want all the bacon fat, even though it adds flavor, I do not need the extra fat. I did add crisp, higher meat bacon, crumbled, at the end. Did not have crushed tomatoes in sauce, so added diced with basil, oregano, and garlic in juice, a whole can, added extra fresh garlic, poured broth in as needed, and used the fresh ground pepper and sea salt, and bay leaf, along with some cayenne, and finished it with some balsamic. When I served it, I put about a quarter teaspoon butter over the top of the teen's. Served it with my broccoli rabe. Needs the green vegetable, for health, appearance, and taste contrast. Roasted asparagus or fresh roasted brussel sprouts would be good. Absolutely yum.