Tag Archives: keto

Recipe: Salmon & “Black Caviar” Lentils w/ Creamy Dill Sauce

As we head into day 137,137 of our stay at home/quarantine, I decided to do a little something outside of our comfort zone and make salmon…at home. Now, I rarely order salmon out unless its sushi, but I’ve had just a few successes at home with salmon and this dish was no different….plus it’s so pretty.

And don’t let the fancy name scare you off. This was super easy. I ordered my Black Caviar Lentils, aka “Beluga” lentils from Rancho Gordo well before the pandemic so I’m not sure how readily available they are in stores, but they are still available here with some possible shipping delays of course. They get their name because they look so much like Beluga Caviar.  I’m actually looking forward to cooking with these type of lentils again. They have so much flavor and add drama to any dish. When they arrived I wondered,  “what in the world what have I done?” What would I make with them? But a local chef  years ago had made them as a bed under some prawns and I saw another dish somewhere on the interwebs with scallops. Well, I’m fresh out of scallops here, but I did have 2 pieces of salmon in the freezer, so that’s how we got here.  Serve this salmon and lentils with asparagus or spinach and you have a complete, colorful meal.

About the sauce in this recipe, you can make just about any sauce you want, but dill loves and seafood and cream. I’ve seen similar recipes of dill sauce calling for creme fraiche but I wasn’t about to make a special trip for that so I used cream cheese instead and have noted that in the ingredients. There’s also a tip below for a totally alternate method that I’ve made before (with some modifications) and it’s almost as good just not warm.  Both sauces are keto-friendly (but the lentils are not).

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Salmon w/Creamy Dill Sauce & Black Caviar Lentils

Ingredients

Wild Caught Salmon filet (try to find one that’s beautifully pink and about 3/4-1 inch thick, about 6-8 oz)
1-2 TBS capers (reserve some juice for later)
Olive oil

Creamy Dill Sauce 
1 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS butter
3 tsp. dijon mustard
4 TBS cream cheese (or creme fraiche if you can find it)
heavy cream (if using cream cheese to loosen to desired consistency)
3 tsp. lemon juice or the reserved caper juice
3 tsp. fresh dill, coarsely minced, plus a few sprigs for garnish
salt/pepper to taste
**see note

Lentils
1 cup black caviar/beluga lentils
oil or butter
Chicken stock or water
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
dry aromatics like bay leaf or oregano (or you can omit)

First you’ll want to prepare your lentils. Heat oil or fat in a sauce pan. Add lentils and stir to coat. Add the garlic then enough water or chicken stock to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes until just tender.
Note: I strongly suggest you take a look at the recommendation on the lentil package as some may require a bit of a different length of cooking time, but this is what I followed per Rancho Gordo. 

While the lentils are cooking…
If using a thicker piece of salmon, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add a oil to a hot pan and sear salmon, skin side up, until golden then flip and sear for a couple minutes more. Scatter in the capers (without the juice). You should hear them sizzle and start to crisp. Place pan in the oven and cook for 5 minutes until medium doneness. You can cook a few minutes more if you like it more done.  Note: my salmon was pretty thin and did not need the additional cooking time beyond the sear, but you may need to do bake it here.

For the sauce:
While the salmon finishes, heat the butter in a sauce pan. After it melts, add dijon and stir well, then add cream cheese or creme fraiche and whisk until smooth and creamy.  If it’s a little too thick, add a bit of heavy cream to loosen. I needed about a 4 tablespoons.  Add the lemon juice or caper juice, then the dill and stir.

Plate the salmon and capers, drizzle the sauce liberally over (as little or as much as you want) and finish with a sprig or two of fresh dill. Serve along side or atop the beluga lentils. I topped with some local microgreens.

Enjoy!

**Let’s just say you haven’t been to the store in 37 days and you’re fresh out of cream cheese. Well you can still make the dill sauce with 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 3/4 cup sour cream, 1 TBS lemon juice, 3-4 TBS. fresh dill, pinch of salt. You will not heat this. Just mix and serve. Easy peasy. And save it because if you decide to add capers or relish later, it’s totally a tartar sauce and so is the one above that’s heated first, come to think of it.

 

Enjoy!

 

Your new favorite summer salad: Squash Salad w/Buttermilk Dressing

Hi, friends!

Long time no chat. Boy have we been super busy. We moved again, no thanks to issues with the house we rented while we build THE house. And now we are temporarily in a charming farm house way on the other side of town. We love the more spacious kitchen with its most excellent light.  But I  am looking forward to finally, one day, moving, hopefully for the very last time. Ever.

Months from now.

Anyhoo…while we’ve been busy cleaning up floods and traveling to forget it all, we came across this awesome little restaurant in Charleston called The Glass Onion. It’s adorable and we were starving and trying to be true to our new Keto way of eating (or at least mr. foodie is, lol) and it came highly recommended. Slid right in before their Saturday brunch ended and grabbed a couple of small plates of deviled eggs and this Squash Salad. We were like, “What the heck is a squash salad?” And the server, bless him, told us about it and said it was unlike anything he’d had before but that it was delicious, so of course we had to try it.

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 The Glass Onion’s Squash Salad

It was a yummy crisp salad but the only greens was a small bed of butter lettuce. Piled onto the lettuce were very thinly sliced yellow squash, mint, slivered almonds and a homemade buttermilk dressing. On top of THAT was a veritable cloud of freshly grated parmesan.

Disclaimer (I realize here that buttermilk is not exactly Keto. I get mine organic from a local market but it has no nutritional info regarding sugar. In the place of buttermilk in this recipe, feel free to use a plain kefir or Greek yogurt, though I prefer Siggi’s Icelandic Yogurt to any and all). If you use yogurt, you may want to cut back on the mayo or add a little milk or something to loosen so it’ll have the consistence of dressing and not a dip.

So giving credit where credit is due, here’s a hat tip to The Glass Onion and my version of its delicious Summer Squash Salad.

Summer Squash Salad (adapted from The Glass Onion, Charleston, SC)

For the Dressing (serves a salad for 4-6 people):

3/4 cup mayo (I use Duke’s because it has no sugar)
1 cup  buttermilk (If Keto, full fat or plain Greek or Siggi’s yogurt or plain Kefir)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
2 tbs. red wine or white wine vinegar
2 tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
dash hot sauce (I used Texas Pete)
fresh ground pepper to taste
Salt to taste

In a pint mason jar, add ingredients, attach lid and shake, shake,  shake. You can also whisk all the ingredients in a bowl but since I put the dressing in a jar anyway, I just throw it in there. Add more salt or pepper or even hot sauce as necessary. Hopefully you won’t use it all and can make another salad for another day or use it as a dip. Refrigerate for 1-2 weeks.

This dressing makes a great base and you can go from there to adding parmesan or italian herbs for a great creamy Italian if you like. Or the zest of the lemon to make it more lemony.

For the salad:

2 zucchini squash
2 yellow squash
1-2 sprigs mint leaves, chopped or torn
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (you can also toast for extra flavor)
1/2 cup fresh parmesan for grating

Slice the squash very thinly with a mandolin or with a knife to about 1/8 inch thickness. Line a salad bowl with butter lettuce, baby lettuce or baby spinach (just a handful). Top the greens with the sliced squash. Add almonds and sprinkle the mint around the squash. About 10 minutes prior to serving, pour the desired amount of dressing onto the salad. You can toss it if you want here, but I don’t bother to. Just before serving, shave the parmesan over the salad. It’s best to cover the whole salad (with an audience) for maximum effect.

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Before the cloud…

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My version of Summer Squash Salad

 

The fresh squash and the pop of mint along with the crunch of the nuts make for a great summer salad that really is unlike anything you’ve ever had. And it has definitely become my new favorite.

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Enjoy!