Simple Art of Cooking: Broiled Salmon

Have you noticed that restaurants that offer prix fixe dinners, that is three courses for X-amount of dollars, where the prix fixe menu almost always feature a roast chicken, varied pasta offerings and fish, which is most often salmon. Salmon is one of our most loved fish and its neutral flavor is the perfect backdrop for a variety of seasonings. I love salmon in so many ways, with Asian marinades grilled with skin on, en papillote—a parchment cage, or poached and served with a vegetable sauce and on and on. I also love it simply prepared and served with lentils. This is a marriage that will suit many for its healthful pairing.

Broiled salmon Portuguese style couldn’t be easier to prepare. The fish is seasoned with finely chopped shallots, salt, pepper and fresh thyme leaves, slivers of butter (the butter could be an option if you prefer) and a drizzle of olive oil. Lemon juice is added half way through the brief broiling and voilà—a delicious salmon dinner.

Lentils come in a variety of colors such as green, brown, red, yellow and black. Most common are the German lentils in shades of brown or green, but most cooks prefer the French dark green lentils from Le Puy, available at specialty stores, because they simply taste better. Finish with poached pears or baked apples or nothing at all.

 

BROILED SALMON PORTUGUESE STYLE

This truly simple preparation has to become a household favorite. Minimally seasoned yet yields maximum flavor. Just broil and serve!

Serves 4

4 center cut salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each, skin removed

2 shallots, finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 

1. Place filets on a heatproof stainless serving platter spaced about one-half inch apart.

Divide chopped shallots and spread over the fillets, then sprinkle each one with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Pull thyme leaves from stems and divide equally over the salmon fillets. Divide butter into 4 thin slices and place on each filet. Can prepare to this point up to an hour ahead.

 

2. Preheat broiler

 

3. Place salmon filets under the broiler for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle on lemon juice. Return to broiler for

2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer for rare to medium doneness. If you would like it more done cook for another minute or two.

 

LENTIL VEGETABLE STEW

This savory and satisfying lentil stew is sweetened with a bit of carrot and shallot.

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 cups dried green or brown lentils

3 shallots, finely chopped

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 to 3 carrots cut into small dice

2 celery stacks thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Pinch red hot pepper flakes

2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 to 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Extra-virgin olive oil for serving

1. Put the lentils in a 5 to 6 quart soup pot; cover with 6 quarts cold water and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. Stir in the shallots, garlic, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the red pepper flakes. Adjust heat to medium low and simmer the stew gently until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes.

2. When the lentils are cooked and water is evaporated add the tomatoes and parsley and stir to mix. The stew can be prepared ahead to this point. If preparing several hours ahead, cool and refrigerate in a suitable container. If refrigerated bring to room temperature and reheat, stirring occasionally, until the stew is properly hot, taste for salt and pepper and season with vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil atop each serving.

 

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