Salmon with lentil and bacon ragout
This dish is full of good-for-you ingredients, so why not walk on the bad side with a little bacon? It's a small indulgence that packs a lot of flavor. Choose a smoky bacon to maximize its impact.
1 cup dried green lentils
2 ounces thick-sliced, smoky bacon, cut into roughly 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup finely diced onion
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large carrot, scrubbed well and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large rib celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2/3 cup homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Four 4-ounce salmon fillets, preferably center-cut (skin-on or skinned)
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish (optional)
Place the lentils in a medium saucepan. Cover with water by 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low to maintain a low boil. Partially cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat a 10-to-12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced bacon; reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the bacon starts to crisp. Add the diced onion; season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until the onion starts to soften, then stir in the diced carrot and celery; cook, stirring every minute or so, for 5 to 6 minutes, until those vegetables start to soften. Add the broth; once it starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Uncover the skillet and stir in the cooked lentils. Increase the heat to medium-high; bring the broth to a boil and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until almost all of the broth has evaporated and the lentils are moist yet not soupy. Remove from the heat; add the vinegar. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Season the salmon fillets lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive or vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon fillets, skin/skinned side up; cook for about 2 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the fillets over and brown on the second side. Transfer the fillets to the baking sheet. Bake to the desired doneness.
Place one salmon fillet, skin/skinned side down, on each plate. Top each portion with the lentil ragout, then drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil, if using.
Makes 4 servings
Nutrition Per serving: 450 calories, 37 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 280 mg sodium, 16 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar