La vie est pleine de contrastes – Salade de lentilles et saumon fumé

It’s quite a fun way to eat lentils…lentils are very versatile and I think not popular enough especially since they’re highly nutritious. I have rarely seen them in restaurants other than in soups. In France they’re considered rustic, something you would eat during winter and with smoked sausage or meat. I like them with smoked fish like salmon or trout, it tones down the smokiness of the fish (if the fish is too smokey like my salmon, actually this salmon was too smokey and salty). Here I like the combination of a hearty rustic ingredient with a more elegant and refined one. I have always loved contrasts. They’re unexpected, interesting and always leave you a feeling of wanting more.

Lentils and spinach are among the ingredients French kids have a hard time eating, if you ask any kid in France what they don’t like to eat, they’ll probably say, j’aime pas les lentiles et j’aime pas les épinards! but obviously I don’t want to make this a generality.

You can also combine fresh salmon with smoked salmon, then you would need to cut both salmon in cubes. Here I striped the salmon since I only used the smoked kind.

Ingredients for 4

For the lentils

  • 200 g lentils du Puy
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 clove
  • salt

For the lentil vinaigrette

  • 1 tbs hazelnut or walnut oil
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

For the salmon marinade

  • 4 large slices of good quality smoked salmon, cut in strips
  • 1 orange
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dill, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp fennel pollen
  • 1 tsp capers, chopped
  • Piment d’Espelette
  • Pepper


In a pot of water cook lentils with clove, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and salt and cook until lentil are tender but not mushy. Drain and remove the cooked vegetables from the lentils and set aside. In a mixing bowl, prepare vinaigrette mixing all ingredients together.

Cut salmon in stripes, mix all ingredients of the marinade and pour over the salmon. Mix well to coat the salmon. Let it marinade in the refrigerator for about one to two hours.

Place a small amount of lentil salad in the middle of a plate (you can use a rind to mount the salad) and top with some salmon stripes. Drizzle some extra marinade on top.