Mark Bittman on Shine: Pan-Cooked Salmon with Lentils

Salmon and green lentils are an excellent combination. Err on the side of undercooking the lentils. You want them to have an almost nutty texture. Other seafood you can use: trout, shrimp (both of which will cook more quickly, so make the sauce first), or scallops. Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Pan-Cooked Salmon with Lentils

Makes: 4 servings

Time: About 1 hour

2 to 3 cups dried green lentils, washed and picked over

2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cube

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

A few sprigs each fresh parsley and thyme, a bay leaf, and a few chives, tied in cheesecloth for easy removal, or about 11/2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Four 6-ounce salmon fillets

Chopped fresh parsley leaves or chives for garnish

1. Put the lentils in a large, deep saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 15 to 20 minutes, then add the carrots, potato, onion, garlic, and herbs.

2. Continue to cook, adding just enough water if necessary to keep the beans moist, until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 35 to 45 minutes total. Remove the fresh herbs, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add the olive oil, and keep warm.

3. Heat a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over high heat for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the bottom of the skillet with salt, then add the salmon, skin side down. Cook over high heat until well browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip the salmon and cook for 1 minute longer (more if you like your salmon well done). Put about 1 cup of lentils in the center of each of 4 serving plates and top with a salmon fillet. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Mark Bittman's award-winning How to Cook Everything has helped countless home cooks discover the rewards of simple cooking. Now the ultimate cookbook has been revised and expanded (almost half the material is new), making it absolutely indispensable for anyone who cooks-or wants to. With Bittman's straightforward instructions and advice, you'll make crowd-pleasing food using fresh, natural ingredients; simple techniques; and basic equipment. Even better, you'll discover how to relax and enjoy yourself in the kitchen as you prepare delicious meals for every occasion.