Sauteed Salmon Fillet with Tzatziki and Warm Lentils

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 25 min (includes draining and chilling time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Olive oil, for sauteing

Four 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin on 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing 

Nonfat Tzatziki, recipe follows

Warm Lentils with Mustard Vinaigrette, recipe follows

Kale and Pine Nut Salad, recipe follows, recipe follows

Nonfat Tzatziki:

1/2 English cucumber

Kosher salt

2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt 

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 

2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped 

2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves cut into chiffonade 

1 small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped 

Freshly ground black pepper

Warm Lentils with Mustard Vinaigrette:

1 1/2 cups black lentils

2 bay leaves 

2 cloves garlic, smashed 

1 stalk celery 

1 small bundle fresh thyme 

1/2 carrot, peeled 

1/2 fennel bulb

1/2 red onion, peeled, root end left on 

Kosher salt 

Warm Salad:

Olive oil, for sauteing

1/2 carrot, finely diced

1/2 fennel bulb, finely diced, plus fennel fronds, for garnish

1/2 onion, finely diced 

1 clove garlic, smashed 

1/2 cup red wine vinegar 

3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard 

Kosher salt 

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 

Kale and Pine Nut Salad

1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed, cut into chiffonade

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

Kosher salt

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted


  1. Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Coat the bottom of another smaller saute pan with olive oil.
  2. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. When the large saute pan is screaming hot but not quite smoking, lay the fish fillets in the pan skin-side down. Place the small saute pan directly on top of the fillets; this applies gentle pressure to the fish and forces the skin to have contact with the pan and will create crispy skin. Cook the fish for 2 to 3 minutes, and then remove the top pan. Shake the pan a little to unstick the fish. Use a fish spatula to flip the fillets, and cook for 2 more minutes on the other side. For thicker cuts or more well-done fillets, place the fish on a baking sheet skin-side up and pop in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 2 or 3 minutes. Finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
  3. Serve with the Nonfat Tzatziki, Warm Lentils with Mustard Vinaigrette and Kale and Pine Nut Salad. 

Nonfat Tzatziki:

  1. Grate the cucumber and place it in a fine strainer over a bowl. Salt the cucumber and allow it to drain until most of the juices come out, approximately 10 minutes. Squeeze out the last bit of juices and transfer to paper towels to pat dry.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, yogurt, white wine vinegar, garlic, mint and dill. Refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld, at least 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper before serving. Yield: 2 cups

Warm Salad:

  1. For the lentils: In a large saucepan, combine the lentils, bay leaves, garlic, celery, thyme, carrot, fennel, red onion and a good amount of salt. Add water to the pan until it covers the ingredients by about 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Ladle off 1 cup of the lentil-cooking water and reserve. Remove all the vegetables and aromatics from the lentils and discard. Drain the lentils.
  2. For the warm salad: Heat a large saute pan with enough olive oil to coat the pan. Add the diced carrots, fennel and onions and sweat the vegetables about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute 1 minute more. Add in the lentils, red wine vinegar and mustard. Pour in a couple tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid and cook down for a couple minutes. Season with salt and garnish with chopped parsley and fennel fronds.

Kale and Pine Nut Salad

  1. Place the kale in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and some salt. Toss the kale in the dressing and let sit at room temperature to soften.
  2. Before serving, check the seasoning and add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Top with the toasted pine nuts.