This dish has the honor of being David’s favorite dish I have made yet this year. While I do not consider it my favorite dish of the year, it is certainly one of the tastiest. My only criticism is that it was a wee bit heavy and rich, but those aren’t drawbacks for everyone. The salmon and lentils were equally delicious on their own, but paired together, they made earthy and savory music together. I mused about creating a freshly acidic, green or zippy sauce to cut through the richness, but David told me not to mess with a good thing. I decided to grill the salmon, but you can also roast it in some oil and some of the reserved bacon fat.
adapted from: Food + Wine
4 strips of bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 carrot, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 rib celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/4 cup lentils- green or black
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 center-cut salmon fillets
Preheat grill to medium high.
In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon until browned. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the lentils, broth, tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce 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. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, lightly brush salmon with vegetable or canola oil on each side and season with salt and pepper. Grill skin side down, 3-5 minutes or until fish releases cleanly from grill. Flip and cook 2-4 minutes longer until desired temperature is reached, 125°F for medium to 135°F for cooked all the way through. *Note* Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the fish. Ideally look for a fillet that is at least 1 inch all the way across.
Once finished cooking, allow salmon to rest for 5 minutes and remove the skin. Spoon the lentil mixture onto plates and top with a fillet of grilled salmon. Serve immediately.
Wine Pairing Suggestion: Pinot Noir from Oregon or California. Light, acidic reds are delightful with salmon, and the lentils and bacon only make the case for red wine stronger.