Lunch in Paris book

Lentilles au Vin Blanc

A book I read a few months ago called “Lunch In Paris” had some really wonderful sounding recipes in it. I saved a few and I’ve tried a few. Here is another one.

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The book was a good read (and yet another book that inspires me to want to go to France) and my mouth watered at all the recipes in the book. I wanted to try all of them.

“In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman–and never went home again. Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak’spink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce?”

I tried another recipe from the book and it was a lovely (and fairly easy) recipe.

Lentilles au Vin Blanc - Lentils with White Wine, Herbs and Tomatoes

Lentilles au Vin Blanc - Lentils with White Wine, Herbs and Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot roughly chopped
  • 4-5 small shallots or 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups dried Puy lentils
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 16 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • ground pepper
  • sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 2 limes, halved
  • chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. In large stockpot heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots and carrot and saute for 5-10 minutes until onions are translucent.
  2. Add lentils and stir to coat with oil. Add broth, tomatoes, wine, parsley, bay leaf and pepper. Leave to simmer over low heat with cover ajar until lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed (about 1 hour).
  3. Serve in shallow bowls with dollop of sour cream, fresh cilantro and half a lime for squeezing.
  4. Variations: Top lentils and sour cream with pan-fried or broiled salmon fillet, squeeze lime over fish and sprinkle with cilantro.
  5. Tip: freezes well. Also makes great soup, just add extra broth and white wine puree.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=24094

I had a bunch of dried lentils on hand that I never got around to using. I’d stocked up when Michael and I were doing the Slow Carb Diet because it recommended lentil soup. Unfortunately, I never got around to making the lentil soup. Time to clean out the pantry.

I had everything else on hand except for the bay leaf. I picked up a package of bay leaves from the store and got to it.

The recipe was simple. I decided to make it for dinner because I was already home taking care of my kitty so I had extra time. I normally would not attempt to make something like this on a week night otherwise.


I used a mixture of both shallots and chopped onion. I wish I could remember what kind of onion I had on hand–it might be a Walla Walla Sweet. I used two small carrots and chopped them up.


I added the lentils to the mix, coated them and then added the rest of the ingredients to simmer for an hour. It took a little longer than an hour for the majority of the liquid to cook off. I’ll admit, I was worried that dinner would be a catastrophe.


To go with the lentils, I made salmon too. Michael cooked two salmon fillets in the skillet seasoned with salt and pepper. The salmon doesn’t take long to cook, so maybe sure the lentils are 99% done before starting the fish.

I served dinner in a shallow pasta bowl. The lentils were cooked perfectly. I topped them with a dollop of light sour cream, add a few springs of parsley and cilantro.

I topped the lentils with the salmon and then squeezed some fresh lime juice on everything.

The verdict: the recipe wasn’t necessarily difficult but it was time consuming. I liked the combination of the salmon and the lentils and the sour cream was a must. I loved the flavors it added.

Lentils can be rather boring in flavor I think. I would add some kind of herb to this recipe if I made it again, but I’m not sure what I’d add…

It was a nice one! And healthy too and if you’re doing the Slow Carb Diet this is a great recipe for you. I halved the recipe and it still made a ton of lentils. I will have leftover lentils for lunches for days.

QUESTION: What’s your favorite lentil recipe? And have you been to France?

Wild Salmon with Dill and Cucumber Salad

If there’s a salmon recipe out there, I will save it to try at some point. We eat so much fish that I’m always on the lookout for a recipe to find a different way to enjoy it with. Of the recipes I’ve tried, there have been a few salmon recipes that have become a staple. The old standby method is blackened salmon. It’s easy, it’s zippy and it goes well with Caesar salads.

Another favorite is the glazed salmon–just mix a little brown sugar into Dijon mustard and ta-da! Yummy sweet mustard salmon. The other favorite is the minced garlic, fresh basil and tomato method. All of these are easy, last-minute dinners that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes.

I stumbled upon this recipe in a memoir I was reading about an ex-pat living in Paris. I bookmarked the recipe because it sounded so good to me. I used to make something similar–with just a little butter, dill and slices of lemon–but I loved the addition of the yogurt sauce and cucumber. I knew the next time I was making salmon I’d try it this way.

Thursday night I got home and for the first time in awhile did not have errands, chores or the gym after work. I decided it was going to be a lazy TV night. Since Michael was miserable on the couch with his hurt back (poor baby) I made dinner. First, a little mood music:

 

Wild Salmon with Dill and Cucumber Salad

“Saumon a l’Aneth et Salade de Concombre”

from “Lunch in Paris”

Serves: 8

 

Salmon

1 wild salmon fillet (2 pounds)

Extra virgin olive oil

Coarse sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Fresh dill, chopped

Half a lemon

Watercress, to serve

 

Yogurt Sauce

2 cups Greek yogurt

2 TB Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1 TB fresh dill, chopped

 

Cucumber Salad

2 pounds pickling cucumbers

Extra Virgin olive oil

Coarse sea salt

Black pepper

Fresh dill

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Fish: wash and dry salmon. On a large baking sheet lay out foil, place salmon on top and drizzle with oil. Season with salt, pepper and dill. Seal the foil. Cook 30-35 minutes in oven.  Serve on a bed of watercress. Squeeze half the lemon on the fish.

3. Sauce: combine all ingredients and leave to rest in the fridge. Pass with the salmon.

4. Salad: cut cucumbers into 1/2 inch slices. If you are using regular cucumbers, remove the seeds first. Can be cut hours before but don’t dress until ready to serve.

5. Drizzle cucumbers with olive oil, sprinkle salt, pepper and dill on top. Serve immediately.

I knew this would be a good recipe from the moment I read it. And we almost always have salmon on hand. I prepared the salmon with a little bit of olive oil (which keeps the salmon from sticking to the foil), sea salt, pepper, a little bit of lemon pepper, dill and the lemon slices.


I wrapped the foil loosely and put it in the oven. Doing the salmon in the foil like this makes clean up super easy. While it was baking (I changed one thing–375 degrees instead of 400) I made us simple salads to eat while it cooked.


Spinach salad with half a serving of Craisins, chopped walnuts, balsamic and olive oil. I love this salad.


Next I worked on the cucumber salad. I scooped out the seeds and then chopped the cucumber. I made the yogurt sauce using the recipe as just a guide. I added more dill and a little bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice. The flavors were mild and delicious.


I changed the recipe a tiny bit again. I mixed the cucumber chunks with some yogurt sauce to lightly coat them–sort of like a thick dressing.

The salmon was done and perfectly cooked–not overdone at all. I squeezed some fresh lemon juice on the baked salmon.


Then I topped the salmon with a spoonful of the remaining yogurt sauce. I did not have watercress so I skipped that. I sprinkled a little extra dill on the cucumbers and dinner was served!


What I loved most about this recipe was the mingling of different flavors. The fresh lemon, plain Greek yogurt and dill are a delicious combination. It’s mild but every once in awhile the lemon had a little kick.


Another bonus–Greek yogurt is a great alternative to other things like mayo, sour cream or tartar sauce. The plain Greek yogurt I used was about 60 calories a serving. It added a different kind of flavor to the fish and I loved it! Michael liked it too. He said the dinner was great and he loved the cucumber and sauce. This will make another appearance in our meal rotation for sure.

I’d give this recipe an A-. It’s delicious, EASY and low in calories. The only “downside” is that it’s not that innovative or that different than the lemon pepper salmon I already do. I do love the yogurt sauce though!

We settled in to catch up on old TV shows–we are weeks behind on the new seasons! (We watched a few episodes of Parenthood, The Office and Modern Family.) I snuggled with the sweetest kitty ever:


And look who else made an appearance!


Maya! She even sniffed my hand before running away again. She stood in the hallway behind my chair and cried. I think she wants to join us for our cuddle sessions when we watch TV but she’s just too skittish. Poor thing.

QUESTION: What’s your favorite recipe that includes Greek yogurt? Will you try this recipe?