I do a lot of pilaf-like accompaniments with my dishes: Grain and other yummy things mixed in. Always some kind of onion, always some herb, usually something to add a different texture to the meal. Sometimes its nuts, but in this case it is my homemade steelhead caviar.
I also like to add some whimsy to my dishes, so I am playing off the caviar with its doppelganger in the legume world — black beluga lentils, which look a lot like sturgeon caviar.
The dish comes together as a marriage of field and stream, of briny and earthy. Steelhead (or salmon, or trout if you prefer) and lentils, caviar and mushrooms and minced hard salami. It doesn’t sound like it would work, but it does. And well.
I used steelhead because I have it. I might just as well use salmon or fillets from a large lake trout or arctic char. That part is flexible.
What’s not is the lentils: You really need beluga lentils here, or the nature of the dish changes dramatically. Beluga lentils are tiny and firm, and should be cooked al dente. If you cannot find them, click the link to order Beluga Lentils. You also need to use salmon or trout caviar, which is widely available in good supermarkets or you can click to order Salmon Roe Caviar.
- 4 fillets of salmon, steelhead or trout
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
- 1 cup black beluga lentils
- 1 pint chicken or pheasant broth
- 1 pint water
- 1 sprig sage
- 1 minced shallot
- 1 minced Fresno or red jalapeno chile
- 1/2 cup minced cremini or button mushrooms
- 1/4 cup minced hard salami
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup minced parsley
- 2 tablespoons salmon or steelhead caviar
- Juice of a lemon
- Rinse the salmon and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt on both sides and set aside.
- Bring the water and chicken broth to a simmer and add the sage sprig. Taste for salt and add it needed. Pour in the lentils and let simmer until just done. You want them al dente. Drain into a colander, remove the sage and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the shallot, salami, mushrooms and chile and saute until it begins to brown. Turn off the heat and add all but 2 tablespoons of the lentils and parsley. Mix well and set aside.
- Get another pan hot and add the grapeseed oil; you can use canola oil if you can’t find grapeseed. Get the oil good and hot. Pat the fish fillets dry again and place flesh side down on the pan. You may need to do this in batches.
- Turn the heat down to medium-high and sear for 3-5 minutes, depending on how thick the fillet is. Turn carefully and sear on the other side for 3-4 minutes.
- After you turn the fish, add in 1 tablespoon of salmon caviar to the lentils and give it some lemon juice. mix gently to combine.
- To assemble, lay out some of the lentil mixture and top with the steelhead. Mix the remaining salmon caviar and beluga lentils and top the fish with it. Give the fish a little hit of lemon juice and serve at once.