One of my favorite places in my neighborhood market is this fantastic Middle Eastern market, always overflowing with fresh pita bread and naan, endless $1 spices by the scoop, and all of the nuts, grains, and everything Middle Eastern you could dream of. But more than anything, I love the great guys who run the place. And now that I live across the street, we get to see each other wonderfully often.
So yesterday when I walked over to pick up a few scoops of lentils, they of course asked what was on the menu. As soon as I mentioned “salmon”, their elderly mother who was sitting behind the counter immediately started talking a million miles an hour in her native language. Her son translated, “She says you must cook salmon and lentils this way — cumin, coriander, cilantro, salt, pepper and a nice bit of lemon juice. It is the best way. You will love it.”
So I scrapped my plans and decided to give her version of baked salmon and lentils a try. Sure enough, this sweet lady was right — this was delightful! I used the spices and some red onions to season the lentils, and ended up just cooking the baked salmon plain with some salt and pepper. And while I often find myself guilty of packing in too many extra spices, I actually loved how simple and mild this dish was. One of my friends who was iffy about salmon even gave the recipe a thumbs up when we shared it for dinner tonight. Success!
Definitely one of my new favorite baked salmon recipes. Look forward to making it again soon!
Simple baked salmon is served with mildly-spiced lentils. A healthy and delicious dish!
1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 salmon filets
half a red onion, diced
2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lemon, quartered
Preheat broiler. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then mist with oil or cooking spray.
Place salmon filets on the baking sheet, and brush each with about 1 teaspoon of the oil. Season liberally with salt and black pepper. Broil for 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through. (Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your salmon.)
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced red onion and saute for 2 minutes until partially cooked. Add the lentils, cumin, coriander, black pepper and salt, and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the lentils are heated through. Remove from heat and stir in fresh cilantro.
Serve lentils topped with the fresh salmon, sprinkled with the juice from the lemons to taste.