Lentillons de la Champagne—named after the French region they're grown in—are known for their pale rosé color, subtle nuttiness, minerality and delicate flavor. In French cooking, lentils are often paired with rich meats like duck and pork, but we love these pink lentils with fish and seafood.
This dish celebrates the simplicity of rustic French cooking. First, leeks, shallots and garlic are slowly confited in olive oil, infusing the oil with all their oniony flavor. Then, parcooked lentils are added, plus herb-marinated salmon. Everything is slow roasted until the salmon is just cooked through and the lentils have soaked in all that allium goodness. Et bien sûr—enjoy with glasses of champagne!
Recipe, food styling and photography by Asha Loupy
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a small bowl, mix the chopped parsley, tarragon, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Place the salmon on a plate and season both sides with the herb mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Place the leeks, shallots, garlic, 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a 9x13 baking dish. Toss to coat the alliums in the oil and spread into an even layer. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the leeks and shallots soften and start to caramelize, about 45–50 minutes.
While the alliums are baking, prepare the lentils. Place the lentils in a large pot and cover by 6 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until al dente, about 10–12 minutes (they'll continue cooking in the oven). Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Toss with the remaining two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to keep them from drying out and set aside.
Remove the foil from the leeks and shallots and stir in the reserved lentils. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and place the fish on top of the lentils. Reduce the oven to 275°F and bake, uncovered, until the salmon is cooked through, about 18–22 minutes for medium and 23–27 minutes for well-done.
Finish with a sprinkle of fleur de sel and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over tableside. Enjoy with glasses of champagne!
Recipe courtesy of: markethallfoods.com