Dinner salads are what get me through crazy hot summers. Temperatures are hitting the mid to high 90s this week, so cool and light meals are the theme until the weather starts to cool down again, oh sometime in September. And even though grilling the salmon for this salad requires standing over a hot grill, it’s not for long, and I can always spray myself down with water or take refuge indoors with the timer while the salmon cooks.
The lemon dill dressing really brightens up the hearty lentils, and the grilled salmon adds a nice smoky flavor. I actually turned two of my boys into salmon lovers with this salad, an impressive feat considering they aren’t that big on seafood. Top Gun is still holding out, but I think he will come around and like salmon one day. Maybe.
Fresh lemon juice gives the dressing a nice punch, so much better than bottled juice. You can grill the salmon indoors or out, just keep a close watch so it doesn’t overcook and dry out.
SALMON AND LENTIL SALAD WITH SPINACH AND LEMON DILL DRESSING
Adapted from EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook.
Serves 4 to 5.
grill pan or grill
small pot with lid
cruet or jar with lid
1-1/2 cups (64 g) dry brown lentils, rinsed well
3 salmon filets
freshly ground black pepper
6 cups fresh baby spinach, washed
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup diced seedless cucumber (about 1/2 of a cucumber)
1 small to medium red onion, finely chopped
dill for garnish
1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice, from 1 to 2 fresh lemons
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup (80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1. DRESSING – In the cruet or small jar, shake together the lemon juice, dill, kosher salt, Dijon mustard, and black pepper. Allow the salt to dissolve, then add the extra-virgin olive oil and shake well. Set aside.
2. LENTILS – In the small pot, cover the lentils with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until the lentils are tender, but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Drain well, toss with the dressing, bell pepper, cucumber, and chopped red onions. Chill.
3. Rub the salmon with a little olive oil and black pepper on both sides. Grill over medium heat, turning half way through cooking, until the meat is firm and flaky, about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets. Remove from the grill and flake the meat.
4. On individual plates, arrange a layer of the spinach, then put a scoop or two of the lentil mixture on top. Arrange chunks of the salmon over the bed of lentils and sprinkle on fresh dill for garnish.