Five star meals don't have to cost a fortune! You can make this one tonight!
Atlantic Salmon with Lentils
- 4 pieces of skinless salmon filets (about 4 - 6 oz each)
- Drizzle of olive oil
- ROASTED VEG:
- 2 large fennel bulbs (tough outer layer removed/fronds reserved/discard the stalks)
- 2 small skin-on red onions (roots trimmed but left intact/halved lengthwise)
- 4 medium parsnips (peeled/topped/tailed)
- 2 medium carrots (peeled/topped/tailed)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 10 or so skin-on garlic cloves
- 1 cup dried puy or casteluccio lentils (rinsed and picked over)
- 2 large garlic cloves (halved lengthwise)
- 2 sage sprigs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- MIXED HERBS:
- 1-2 sprigs chervil (leaves only)
- 1-2 sprigs parsley (leaves only)
- 1-2 sprigs fennel fronds (leaves only)
- 1-2 sprigs mint (leaves only)
- 1-2 sprigs marjoram (leaves only)
- 1-2 sprigs tarragon (leaves only)
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Set your oven to 200 degrees, but leave the door ajar. You want to have an oven that's just below 200 degrees.
- Set your lightly seasoned fish on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of water. Cook your fish to your desired doneness—about 10 mins for med-rare. You can also poach the fish if you prefer.
- ROASTED VEG:
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Trim the root ends of the fennel, just to remove any brown oxidized bits, but keep the ends intact. Halve the fennel bulbs lengthwise. Ideally your parsnips and carrots will be about the same size. If the top portion of any of them is much thicker than the others, cut off this portion and halve it lengthwise.
- Pour the oil into a flameproof heavy-bottomed roasting pan, shallow casserole, or cast-iron pan large enough to hold all the vegetables comfortably in one layer. Set it over medium-high heat until the oil is nice and hot—it should ripple, crackle, and smoke a little—about 5 minutes.
- Carefully add the vegetables, cut sides down for the onion and fennel, and let them sizzle away. Turn your pan every now and then if you feel that one spot's not getting hot, and peek underneath the vegetables to make sure things are looking happy. As they brown, you'll smell the sweetness as the heat brings out the vegetables' sugars. If you see too much browning too quickly, turn the heat down a bit. When the undersides are a nice golden-brown color, about 10 minutes, turn the vegetables browned sides up and turn off the heat.
- Sprinkle plenty of salt, about 1 tablespoon, over the vegetables, crushing it between your fingers as you do. Don't stir, because you don't want the vegetables to lose the salt. Scatter the garlic cloves around the pan and pop it into the oven.
- This next part is a bit of a balancing act. If after 15 minutes or so in the oven you see really nice color, but the insides of the vegetables are still fairly firm, turn the heat down to 350°F. Continue to cook the vegetables, turning them over now and then and being delicate with the fennel and onions so they don't fall apart, just until you can slide a knife into the vegetables without resistance and it comes out easily, 40 to 50 minutes. You're not aiming for crispy vegetables.
- Stack the vegetables nicely on a serving plate. I like to set an onion half and a few fennel halves on the plate first, then start arranging the carrots and parsnips on top so they face this way and that. Add the rest of the veg, including the garlic cloves, and spoon on some of the sweet fat left in the pan. Add a little more salt, but only if you fancy. I like mine not very highly seasoned. Roughly chop a handful of the reserved fennel fronds and sprinkle over the top.
- Put the lentils, garlic, sage, and olive oil in a small to medium pot, along with 2 cups cold water, and set it over medium heat. Let it come to a simmer (don't let it boil), then turn the heat to low and cook the lentils at a very gentle simmer just until they're tender—no longer gritty or mealy, but still with some texture to them—about 25 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let the lentils cool. They'll continue to cook a bit as they do.
- Once the lentils are cool, drain them very well, and pick out and discard the sage and garlic. You'll have about 2 cups cooked lentils.
- MIXED HERBS:
- Combine chervil, parsley, fennel fronds, mint, marjoram, tarragon. Toss together with pinch of salt, squeeze of lemon and olive oil.
- FOR THE PLATE:
- Put one piece of each veg on the plate. Add the cooked fish. At the last second toss the herbs in to your cooked lentils and shake over the fish and veg.