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Salmon Over Vanilla Balsamic Lentils

This recipe was inspired by a salmon dish I used to order frequently at a great little waterfront restaurant in Boston’s Seaport called 75 on Liberty Wharf.  Their version didn’t use vanilla or balsamic flavors, but instead it came with asparagus and a roasted red pepper coulis.  It was also served with the most amazing polenta wedges I’ve ever tasted.  I’m still working on replicating those!

Salmon Over Vanilla Balsamic Lentils
Yield:  4 servings
Time:  60 minutes  (25 minutes total if lentils are pre-cooked)

Four 6-oz salmon filets
3 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup dry green lentils
2 cups water
16 oz baby bella mushrooms
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
12 oz fresh baby spinach
salt and pepper

  1. Cook the lentils:  Place the lentils and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling for one minute, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 35 minutes.  (The lentils can be prepared up to three days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.)
  2. Place the salmon filets in a lightly greased baking dish.  Season each piece of salmon with a pinch of salt and pepper.  In a small dish, mix together the honey and mustard.  Spoon over the salmon filets.  Bake at 390°F for about 15-18 minutes, until fully cooked through.
  3. While the salmon is cooking, cut the mushrooms in half or quarters, depending on how large they are.  Place in a skillet and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes.  Stir the cooked lentils into the mushrooms.  Add the vanilla and balsamic.  Season with salt and pepper (about ¼ tsp of each).
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add half of the spinach.  Gently stir the spinach into the mushrooms and lentils for about two minutes, until slightly wilted.  Remove from the heat and add the remaining spinach immediately before serving.
  5. Arrange a pile of the spinach/mushroom/lentil mixture on each plate.  Top with honey-mustard salmon.

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