French Lentils in Tomato Broth
A lot of my new recipes are often inspired by travel and eating at different restaurants. I love to try out new things and if the dish is working for me, I love to play detective and figure out how something came to be. This simple French lentils and salmon recipe is a take on something I had at a restaurant in Las Vegas, when I was last there for a conference. These lentils are so simple but when cooked correctly, they have an almost creamy consistency. I’ve made this a dozen times since I first had it in March and this version is the my favorite. It features a smoky tomato broth, a lot of herbs, and my perfect salmon on top. The best part, is that it comes together in under an hour!
The type of lentils here matters - you have to use French lentils or Puy lentils for the best result. I’ve tried this with brown lentils, which is most commonly available in grocery stores - they take longer to cook and fall apart easily. French lentils keep their shape and have a more peppery flavor, which works well for this dish. If you cannot find French lentils in your grocery store, you can order them online - I recommend Bob’s Red Mill brand lentils.
I serve these lentils with a side of spinach or asparagus. You can also stir in some baby spinach into the pot of lentils as they finish cooking, and wilt them in the stew. I have not tried this myself but if you’re feeling decadent, you can toss in some bacon or prosciutto as you’re browning the onions for an extra hit of smokiness and umami.
1.5 cups French lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tsp herbs provence or 2 sprigs of rosemary or 4 sprigs of thyme
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 can fire roasted tomatoes (unsalted)
3 cups of water
salt to taste
Using a blender, blend the canned chopped tomatoes into a smooth liquid. Set aside.
Heat a saucepan on medium heat and add olive oil. Add in the sliced onions and cook for 10 mins, or until translucent and slightly browned. Add the garlic, herbs de provence, red pepper flakes, and salt and mix well. Cook for 2-3 mins.
Add the lentils to the pot and coat well with the mixture. Add in the tomato liquid, mix well, and let cook for 2 mins. Add in the bay leaf and water and cover with a lid. Cook covered for 25 mins. Then, cook partially covered for 15 additional mins.
Taste for salt and serve!