Grilled Salmon with Herb Lentils and Salsa Verde

Find more grilled fish recipes from Fish Tales, and read an interview about sustainable fisheries with co-author Bart van Olphen.

Grilled salmon, herbed lentil salad, salsa verde
Photo: Simon Wheeler / Kyle Books

Recipe courtesy of Bart van Olphen and Tom Kime's Fish Talesamazon.

This is a wonderful combination in a very simple recipe. The contrast of textures and the interplay of the colors are as important to the finished dish as the flavors. Everything works together to form a three-dimensional image of delicious food.
-Bart Van Olphen & Tom Kine, co-authors of Fish Tales.

Wild Alaskan salmon is Marine Stewardship Council-certified, but not all salmon fisheries are sustainable, so choose carefully.


For the herb lentils
7 oz Puy lentils
4 fresh sage leaves
3 fresh flat-leaf parsley stems
1 celery rib
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
3 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 springs of fresh basil, chopped

For the salsa verde
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 sprigs of fresh basil
3 sprigs of fresh mint
leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley (stems reserved for the herb lentils)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil

oil, for grilling
salmon fillets, 1 portion-sized piece per person, skin on

First make the herb lentils. In a pan, cover the lentils with cold water and bring to a summer over medium heat. Add the sage leaves, parsley stems, and celery. Simmer until the lentils are al dente, and then remove from the heat and drain, reserving a little of the cooking water. Discard the celery and herbs.

Season the lentils while hot with salt and black pepper, and add the oil, vinegar, and the lemon juice and zest, so they will better absorb all the flavors. When the lentils have cooled, add the chopped herbs.

For the salsa verde, place the garlic and capers in a food processor or in a pestle and mortar and blend or crush until smooth. Add the Dijon mustard and all the herbs, then purée until you have a smooth green paste. Add the lemon juice and red wine vinegar, and then stir in the olive oil. Check the seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and lemon juice, if necessary.

Place a lightly oiled, heavy-bottomed griddle pan over medium to high heat. Season the salmon fillets with salt and black pepper and place in the pan, skin-side down. Grill the salmon for 4 minutes until crisp. Roll the fish over and cook for 2 minutes on each of the other sides. When cooking salmon you want the flesh to be medium-rare in the center; the residual heat will continue cooking the fish after it has been removed from the heat.

Serve the grilled fish with the herb lentils and the salsa verde, perhaps alongside some other vegetables or a mixed peppery leaf salad. The richness of the salmon can be complemented by a crisp white wine with a good balance of fruit and acidity. I would suggest a good quality dry rose.


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