Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pan-Seared Salmon with Braised Lentils and Swiss Chard

Because I have an adventurous palate, my constant quest for new foods and flavors can sometimes lead me to forget about out old favorites. For whatever reason, lentils are one of those foods for me. I don't think I've met a lentil dish I didn't like, but I don't find myself plucking them out of the pantry on a regular basis. And there's no good reason for not making them more often. They cook much faster than your average dried legume without requiring any pre-soaking, making them the perfect bean for a quick weeknight meal.

The list of ingredients is startlingly short for the flavor the finished dish turns out, just a few gentle touches of herb and acid required to perfectly unite the earthy lentils, rich salmon, and subtly bitter Swiss chard in a flavorful broth. I found this combination to be absolutely delectable, but I already have notions of trying spinach and kale once I've finally picked my Swiss chard plants clean. This is satisfying enough on its own, but if you're feeling a bit more voracious, a side of quinoa or rice really rounds out the meal nicely. Quick enough for an average Thursday, but special enough for date night, this dinner is sure to impress whether or not there's time to linger over each scrumptious bite.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Braised Lentils and Swiss Chard
adapted from America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2010
serves 2

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 bunch Swiss chard (about 6 ounces), stems and leaves separated, stems chopped and leaves cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or pinch dried
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup brown lentils (about 3 ounces), picked over and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
2 (6-ounce) skinless center-cut salmon fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
1 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the chard stems and onion and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in 1 3/4 cups of the broth, lentils, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, transfer to a bowl, and cover to keep warm.

3. Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the skillet with a wad of paper towels, add the toil, and return to medium-high heat until just smoking. Carefully lay the salmon in the skillet, skinned-side up, and cook until well-browned on the first side, about 5 minutes. Flip the fish and continue to cook until the sides are opaque and the thickest part registers 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer the fish to a plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest while finishing the lentils.

4. Wipe out the skillet with a wad of paper towels and return to medium-high heat Ad the lentils and remaining 1/4 cup broth and cook until hot, about 1 minute. Stir int he chard leaves and remaining 1 tablespoon butter and cook, stirring constantly, until the chard is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve the salmon and lentils with lemon wedges.

No comments:

Post a Comment