Monday, September 14, 2009

Gourmet Me

I'm beginning to think I can no longer in good faith call myself "undomesticated." I'm still not the world's best cook, but I now know how to do much more than boil water and toast bread.

As promised, inspired by Giulia Melucci, on Friday night, I prepared Salmon with Lemon-Tarragon Butter and French Lentil Stew.

Melucci includes both of the recipes in her wonderful book, "I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti," (p. 81) but I'm posting them here just for you:

Salmon with Lemon-Tarragon Butter
(Adapted from

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
juice and zest of 1 large lemon
freshly ground pepper
2 salmon fillets
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced

In a small saucepan over low eat, melt butter with lemon juice and zest, remove from heat.

Place salmon skin side down on a broiler pan. Brush with half the butter mixture, season with salt and pepper. Broil until just cooked through, about 20 minutes (there is no need to turn).

Transfer to plates. Add tarragon to remaining lemon butter. Spoon over salmon and serve over lentils.

French Lentil Stew
(Adapted from Nigella Lawson, The New York Times)

1 shallot
1 clove garlic
1/2 stalk celery
1/2 carrot, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup French lentils
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Finely chop the shallot, garlic, celery, and carrot. It's easiest to do them all together in a food processor if you have one. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the vegetables and cook until they have softened (about 5 minutes), then add 3 cups of water, lentils, thyme, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a steady simmer, then lower heat. Allow the lentils to cook for 20 to 26 minutes. When they are tender and have absorbed most of the water, they are ready to serve; if they are still a little tough, add more water and continue to cook until softened.

It was a lot of fun for me to buy French lentils. Anything French sounds fancy and I felt like a culinary snob seeking out the French lentils rather than the plain old boring American ones.

The lentils took a while to soften and I did end up adding more water. I realized too late that I should have waited longer to start making the salmon, which was ready much faster than the lentil stew.

I also should have bought bigger fillets of salmon. The salmon was delicious, but there was much too little of it -- especially once Ruby joined us for dinner.

In general, I can only handle cooking one dish a night, so this was a big treat for Avo to have a balanced meal for once.

"This is your best dinner yet!" Avo declared.

Paired with a glass of white wine, it was all very sophisticated.

We even had leftover lentils for lunch on Saturday (served over brown rice, it was a satisfying meal).

It doesn't get much more domesticated than that.

1 comment:

Susan Blumberg-Kason said...

I made the lentils tonight and served it with brown rice. I haven't felt this healthy in months! Thanks for the recipe.