England (and maybe the rest of the UK too?) had been in the midst of some really lovely autumn weather… a little rain here and there, but mostly it’s been warm, sunny days. It does mean that the fact that it now starts getting dark around 5 seem strange, especially when it’s still nice enough to sit outside.
A couple of weekends ago, we went for a walk around some of the wooded areas of Surrey, and it was hard to believe that it was really autumn. We had lunch outside at a great local pub, The William Bray, where the food and the beer were both delicious.
Along the way, I picked some chestnuts for roasting, and wished that I knew enough about wild mushrooms to choose between the tasty ones and the deadly ones. I wonder if there’s a field guide to mushrooms somewhere out there that would make me confident enough to try.
We did roast the chestnuts I picked, which were sweet and soft right out of the oven. However, we just had to make do with mushrooms that trustworthy people had gone through the trouble of growing and sorting, when it came time for the main course.
I think the combination of salmon and lentils combines two very different types of flavors – lentils, which can be heavy but very lean, and salmon, which is less dense, but rich and fatty. The leeks add sweetness and green to the plate, and, well, mushrooms taste good.
For any gluten-free readers out there, lentils are often harvested with wheat, so it’s worth being extra-careful and reading online reviews of brands when looking for lentils that will work for you.
On the Counter
4 filets of salmon
475 mL (2 cups) vegetable stock
1 leek, thoroughly washed
250 g (1/2 lb) chestnut or cremini mushrooms
175 g (7/8 cup or 6.2 oz) French green lentils (lentilles vertes)
1 garlic clove, chopped
small handful of chopped fresh parsley
4 tsp dijon mustard
8 tsp water
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
What to Do
Preheat oven to 200 C/390 F.
Rinse the lentils. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil. If you are using unsalted stock, add 1/2 tsp of salt. Once the water is boiling, add in the lentils and cook according to the package. Green lentils should boil for 10 minutes and simmer for 35 minutes. Drain the lentils.
Thinly slice the leeks and mushrooms, but set them aside separately.
Combine Dijon mustard, thyme, water, 2 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt, whisk. Set half the sauce aside.
On a baking sheet lined with foil, place the salmon skin-side down. Cover the salmon with 1/2 of the Dijon sauce. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
On medium-low, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a sautee pan until shimmering. Add in the leeks and stir frequently, until they begin to soften – about 5 minutes. Add in mushrooms, and continue to stir frequently, for another 3 minutes or so, or until the mushrooms begin to soften and shine. Add in garlic and 1 tsp of salt and cook for another minute until garlic is fragrant and soft. Mix in 1/2 of of the remaining Dijon sauce (1/4 of the total), and set aside.
When the lentils are finished, spoon them into a wide-bottomed bowl. Top with shallots and mushrooms, and then salmon. Sprinkle parsley on top.