In Which We Cook Salmon

After an evening at my parents’ house, where sushi was in order (yes, I could eat sushi every day for the rest of my life and not get bored), we continued our journey with the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse. This time around, the meal plan was Pan-Seared Salmon with Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto and “A Good Pot of Lentils,” which is actually a recipe you’re meant to have on had throughout the cleanse for lunches, etc.

Of course, we weren’t nearly so prepared, so the Boy began by making the lentils:

Lentils cooking

We threw a bunch of the recommended “aromatics” in too.

After which, we prepared the salmon and pesto. This part wasn’t too difficult, assembly of our new food processor notwithstanding, and thankfully there was no need to skin or debone our lovely salmon.

Beautiful salmon filets

So colorful!

The meal was good – we undercooked the salmon a bit, but it was still tasty. The lentils were very hearty (as expected from a recipe entitled “A Good Pot of Lentils”), and the pesto, if not quite as flavorful as I would’ve like, was a nice complement to the fish. So far, so good with this whole cleanse thing!

Pan-Seared Salmon with Pumpkin Seed-Cilantro Pesto

Dinner #2 courtesy of Bon Appetit!

Pan-Seared Salmon with Pumpkin Seed-Cilantro Pesto
All recipes adapted from Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse 2012

This was far, far easier than the cod, if not quite as spectacular. Still, it was very good and simple, and the next day I threw the leftovers into butter lettuce with some orange segments and miso dressing for a very tasty lunch. Salt, pepper, and lime the pesto with abandon.

Yield
: 4 Servings

2 1/2 tsp. plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup (firmly packed) cilantro leaves and stems
1/2 tsp. ground coriander (Bon App used cracked coriander, which we didn’t have)
1/2 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. (or more) fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 6-oz. salmon fillets (preferably wild)
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Heat 1 1/2 tsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin seeds; sauté until beginning to brown and pop, about 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to paper towels to drain; let cool. Reserve skillet.

Pulse 6 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds. cilantro, coriander seeds, and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. With machine running, gradually add 1 Tbsp. lime juice, 1/4 cup oil, then 1/4 cup water, blending until coarse purée forms. Season pesto to taste with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.

Heat remaining 1 tsp. oil in reserved skillet over mediu heat. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and cook until just opaque in center, 3-4 minutes per side. Place fillets on plates. Spoon pesto over. Garnish with remaining pumpkin seeds. Serve with lime wedges.

A Good Pot of Lentils
These, while not the prettiest, are a tasty and wholesome side for any meal. We added a carrot, thyme, an onion, celery, bay leaf, and garlic with good results, as well as some chili flakes.

Portions to Serve 1
: 1/2-3/4 cup lentils

Recipe: 6-8 Servings

This recipe makes extra in order to stock the Week 1 Cleanse Pantry. We recommend making this dish on Sunday so that it’s on hand throughout the week.

2 cups lentils (French green or black beluga)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt plus more for seasoning
Optional Aromatics:
1 carrot, peeled; fennel fronds; 3 sprigs thyme; 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley; 1 medium onion; 1 celery stick; 1 bay leaf; 1 head of garlic (the top 1/3 sliced off), and 1 whole dried chile

Place 4 cups water, lentils, oil, and salt in a heavy large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add any or all of the aromatics and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender and no longer chalky at their core, about 30-45 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Let lentils cool in the cooking liquid.

Do Ahead: Cover and chill lentils in liquid for up to 5 days. When ready to serve, scoop lentils out of liquid with a strainer or slotted spoon.

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