Warm Salmon and Lentil Salad with Herbes de Provence

By • January 15, 2018 2 Comments

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Author Notes: This main-dish salad is bright, fresh, and sunny, like a little postcard from Provence on a cold winter’s day. At its heart, the recipe is a riff on two genius recipes: Sally Schneider’s Slow-Roasted Salmon and Peter Miller’s Lentils Folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil, but using French flavors like Dijon mustard and herbes de Provence.

It’s a good one to pocket for when you want a salad that’s a little more put-together than the freewheeling grain bowls or clean-out-the-fridge salads that can land on the table on harried nights. And like the recipes that inspired it, this dish is virtually foolproof—meaning you can turn to it again and again this winter, or anytime of year.

Food52 Review: Throughout the cold-weather season, we rely on pantry ingredients like dried herbs and spice blends to transport our kitchens to a warmer place. That's why we've partnered with The Spice Hunter, makers of a fragrant herbes de Provence blend, to bring you this recipe. Check out Emily C's story A Hearty Salmon and Lentil Salad Featuring Two Genius Techniques for more tips on how to make this and other winter salads shine. The Editors


Serves 4

For the yogurt dressing

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, from 1 to 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence, such as The Spice Hunter's Herbes de Provence Blend
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (full-fat recommended)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence, such as The Spice Hunter's Herbes de Provence Blend
  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet, preferably center-cut
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2-3 cups greens (baby arugula, spinach, mache, mizuna, or a mix)
  1. Make the yogurt dressing: In a small bowl or jar, combine the shallots, lemon zest, lemon juice, herbes de Provence, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let the shallots macerate in the acid for about 5 minutes to relax their pungency. Add the Dijon, yogurt, and extra-virgin olive oil, and whisk to combine (or put a lid on your jar and shake). Adjust seasoning and acidity, to taste. Dressing can be made in advance, and keeps well (tightly covered in the fridge) for one week.
  2. Heat oven to 275F.
  3. Make the Salmon rub: In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, Dijon, and herbes de Provence (listed under the salad ingredients) until well combined.
  4. Brush a baking dish generously with olive oil, or line with foil. Arrange the salmon skin side-down in the dish. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper evenly over the flesh, then using the back of a spoon or your hands, evenly apply the rub. Roast for 20 to 35 minutes (cook time will depend on the salmon’s thickness), or until the fish is just beginning to flake and the tip of a knife slides through the flesh easily. (An instant-read thermometer should read 120F in the thickest part for medium-rare.). Once cool, break the salmon into irregular pieces.
  5. Meanwhile, make the lentils: Place lentils and bay leaf in a saucepan and cover by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes (or according to package directions). Add additional water, if needed, to keep the lentils covered. Drain well in a colander, discarding the bay leaf. Return the lentils to the pan. Immediately fold in 2 tablespoons of the yogurt dressing, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and half the pine nuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Let the lentils cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a large serving platter or bowl. Add the greens and about 1 tablespoon dressing, tossing well. Taste again, adding more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or dressing as needed, tasting and tinkering until you get the balance right.
  7. Top lentils with salmon and remaining pine nuts. Drizzle more dressing over the salad. Serve warm.

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