Inspired by Balthazar in NYC, salmon is crusted with mustard and breadcrumbs and simply seared, then served over a bed of lentils simmered with carrots, celery, onion and bacon. It's an incredibly simple dish, difficult to mess up, but because it's a classic bistro dish, it has glamour, mystique. A certain je ne sais quoi. —Borrowed Salt
lentils (ideally de Puy)
slices bacon, diced
medium onion, diced
clove garlic, minced
celery stalk, diced
salt and pepper
olive or grapeseed oil
In This Recipe
Combine lentils and 4 cups cold water in saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
In another saucepan, sauté bacon and thyme over medium heat about 2 minutes. Add onion, garlic and salt and cook for 5 minutes until onion is translucent. Add butter, carrots, celery, pepper and 1 cup / 235 mL water and cook for 5 more minutes.
Drain lentils and add to the bacon-veg mixture. Simmer lightly for another 5-10 minutes and lentils are very tender.
Preheat oven to 500F / 260C. Season salmon on both sides. On the rounded side of each filet, spread about 2 Tbs mustard, then press in 1 tsp breadcrumbs to form a crust.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. When oil is shimmering hot, add the salmon, mustard-side down. Lower heat to medium. Sear for 2 minutes, then carefully flip and sear 1 minute more. When flipping, take care to keep the crust from breaking off the fish. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 3-4 minutes more, depending on size of salmon.
Serve salmon over a bed of lentils. A simple green salad dressed with a mustard shallot vinaigrette would be a great pairing for a meal.