Mustard Crusted Salmon with French Lentils

By Borrowed Salt
March 4, 2014
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Author Notes: 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

Serves: 4

  • 1 cup lentils (ideally de Puy)
  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 dash white pepper
  • 4 salmon filets
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
  1. Combine lentils and 4 cups cold water in saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. Drain lentils and add to the bacon-veg mixture. Simmer lightly for another 5-10 minutes and lentils are very tender.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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