Roasted Salmon with Lentils and Bacon
- SERVINGS: 4
A center-cut salmon fillet is best for roasting because it is uniform in shape and thickness and cooks more evenly than an end piece. Served on a bed of lentils that have been simmered with vegetables and bits of bacon, it's to die for.
- 4 strips bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 rib celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 cups lentils
- 2 1/4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 3/4 pounds skinless center-cut salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil, more if needed
- In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon until browned. Pour off and reserve all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, broth, tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until the lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and stir in 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper.
- Heat the oven to 450°. Sprinkle the salmon with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. In a large ovenproof nonstick frying pan, over moderately high heat, heat the reserved bacon fat, with enough oil to measure 2 tablespoons. Add the fish, skinned-side up, and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn. Put the pan in the oven and continue cooking the salmon until just barely done (the fish should still be translucent in the center), about 3 minutes longer for a 1-inch-thick fillet. Put the lentils on plates and top with the salmon.
Light, acidic red wines are delightful with salmon, and the lentils and bacon only make the case for red wine stronger. Try a bottle of Pinot Noir from Oregon or California.