Panko Salmon & French Lentils

Apr 03, 2012


A healthy food item that always seems to be a luxury is salmon.  Whether it’s lox on my bagel with cream cheese for brunch or baked and served with delicious sides for a fuss-free dinner entree, I feel as though I am being treated to a luxurious meal.

So when I first made Barefoot Contessa’s Panko Salmon with French Lentils, I was quite impressed. With the panko holding in the flavorful moisture, the searing adding that ideal amount of crunch and the lentils contributing a smooth rich flavor that pairs wonderfully with the fish, this recipe quickly moved to the front of my recipe notebook.

Key Things To Keep In Mind:

*The listed amount of Dijon mustard below was too much for my taste buds, so I ended up mixing it with equal parts of mayonnaise. This mellowed out the Dijon, but still retained the moist, rich flavor.

*A quick and simple meal that at first glance looks deceptively tricky. 



2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 salmon filets, skin on (6 to 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Lemon wedges, for serving


3 tablespoons olive oil
4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 cup French, green Le Puy lentils (standard lentils work well in a pinch)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



1. Add lentils to 4 cups of water, and bring to boil.  Add carrots, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.  Drain the lentils, and place them in a small bowl.

2.  Meanwhile whisk together the olive oil, mustard, and vinegar.  Add about 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Add the mix to the lentils.  Allow the lentils to cool slightly.


1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2.  In a small bowl, mix together the panko, parsley, and lemon zest. Add the olive oil and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.

3.  Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on a board. Generously brush the top of the fillets with mustard and mayo mixture (about 1 heaping teaspoon) and then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard/mayo on each salmon fillet.  The mustard and mayo will help the panko adhere.

4.  Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet or large, heavy, ovenproof pan. When the oil is hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear for 3 to 4 minutes, without turning, to brown the skin.

5.  Transfer the pan to the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is almost cooked and the panko is browned. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve the salmon warm, over a bed of French lentils.  Garnish with lemon wedges.

6 thoughts on “Panko Salmon & French Lentils

  1. Absolutely! While some would suggest breadcrumbs that you can purchase at a store, in order to have a similar texture to that of Panko, I’d take some bread (2-3 slices) and place them in a food processor, pulse 3-4 times until it resembles . . . well, breadcrumbs. By doing this, they will be fresh and have a crunch, but no gravely bite.

    However, when I began looking for Panko, I too thought I’d never be able to find it, especially living in a rural town, but I was surprised to find it in a basic grocery store. Just check the cooking aisle.

    Good luck and enjoy!

  2. Tried it on Sunday, not only did it take very little time compared to what I expected, but it was also absolutely delicious! I used breadcrums for the topping, next time I’ll try to add pine nuts!
    Thanks for sharing!

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