3.31.2018

Move Over Posh - Here Comes Smoky Spice

One of my favorite spices is Spanish smoked paprika, known in Spain as pimentón.

There are both hot and sweet versions, and I find them both indispensable for adding flavor.

I started using them decades ago to replace liquid smoke in recipes. I have no idea if liquid smoke is bad for you or not (some articles suggest it is, while others say it’s fine), but I find it vaguely creepy.

Pimentón, in addition to its smoky essence, imparts the rich flavor and color of capsicum peppers. A bonus, right?

Today’s Salmon recipe came to me from an acquaintance, who said she was passing it along from another source, the story of so many wonderful recipes. I assume it is from a magazine but I am not sure.

The accompanying lentil recipe is one I made up, but I am sure someone - somewhere - has come up with the same concoction. It’s lentils, after all, not rocket science.

This is a great meal to throw together when you get home after work, want something really flavorful, and don’t want to spend hours making it.

My modus operandi is to set the fish marinating, then change into my pajamas, find some wine to pour, prep the lentils and spice mixture, and prepare for dinner (and a movie), all in about 15 minutes,

I have it down to an art. It’s a beautiful thing.

~ David (a.k.a. Smoky Spice)

Smoky Cinnamon Salmon with Mushroom Lentils

1 large organic orange
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, divided
4 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
mushroom lentils, for serving (recipe follows)


Finely grate zest from the orange and set aside. Juice the orange and measure ¼ cup of juice and set aside. Reserve remaining juice for another purpose.

Mix orange juice, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of the thyme in small bowl. Place salmon in large glass dish and add marinade. Turn to coat well. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Mix sugar, smoked paprika, cinnamon, orange peel, remaining teaspoon thyme, and sea salt in a small bowl. Remove salmon from marinade. Place on greased foil-lined baking pan. Rub tops of salmon evenly with smoked paprika mixture. Discard the marinade.

Roast salmon in preheated 400°F oven for 12-13 (10-11 minutes if wild salmon) minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. For thin filets, reduce cooking time.

While salmon is roasting, make the lentils (recipe follows).

Divide the lentils among four dinner plates and top with the roasted salmon.

Makes 4 servings.

Mushroom Lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 large cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (I used Trader Joe’s)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and sauté the carrot, celery, and shallot until clear and softened a little. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté until they have released their liquid and are beginning to brown. Add the thyme, and cook another minute.

Add the lentils, broth, and wine, then season with salt and pepper. Cook at a brisk simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. 

Serves 4.


26 comments:

  1. I make a very similar meal often. It's delicious, but I'm wondering if it might taste better in my pajamas. GREG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To me, Greg, everything states better when I am in my pajamas.

      Delete
  2. I like the salmon with the lentils and everything tastes better in comfortable clothing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gerlinde - I have the feeling a lot of us will begin to admit that dining in comfortable clothes is much more fun!

      Delete
  3. I have visions of you in your PJs, sipping on vino and pottering about the kitchen. How perfect! I share your love for smoked paprika, as I often sneak it into my cooking for that gorgeous flavour and aroma. As for liquid smoke, what's it actually made from? Is there anything 'real' in it?

    I think I'll be trying this marinade next time I buy salmon. It sounds divine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know from my reading that everything in (some brands of)liquid smoke is natural, but I still find it creepy! Think of it as distilled smoke. I will stick to piemrntón!

      Delete
  4. Uhuh, have to confess to both the pyjamas and the vino! So civilized!! Love your lentil recipe, even tho' the mushrooms used may not be cremini . . . and the salmon just has to be tried! As an extra bonus I slipped out awhile to talk to my dear friend Mr Google, and liquid smoke seems to be an amine which many, many people use instead of soy sauce (:))) and should I get curious enough, it is actually available in a number of Sydney's better food stores including the newish 'USA Foods' I did not even realize was there . . . Hope you are having a very happy Easter!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Easter to you, too!

      As I said to Gerlinde, I think we will find we aren’t alone in our pajamas and vino!

      The mushrooms are sold as cremini - what makes you say they might not be? Would love to know!

      The liquid smoke available here isn’t an amino - far from it, however, it is theoretically safe and is probably distilled smoke.

      Delete
  5. My apologies! I do manage to express myself poorly at times :) ! All I meant to say was that I may not be able to buy cremini mushrooms in rural Australia and probably shall substitute . . . sorry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh, I understand now! I was thinking there was a difference I was missing! No need to apologize! Any mushroom will work fine! :)

      Delete
  6. Perfect for late dinner during the week. Thank you !

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nothing beats a quick tasty meal that can be enjoyed in your PJ's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so true, Emma - and then we can enjoy our movie-du-soir in our PJs!

      Delete
  8. This sounds great, I think smoked paprika is one of my favourite spices too. Love the sound of those mushroom lentils.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Caroline, I remember my first taste of pimentón! What a flavor!

      Delete
  9. That looks soooo good on this snowy April afternoon ! :-/ I love that crust on the salmon--I bet that is good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel for you Susan - I can’t remember how many times I had to use the phrase, “... on this snowy APRIL afternoon...” Yes, this dish would be the perfect antidote.

      Delete
  10. Hey, Smoky Spice! Your paragraph about liquid smoke could've been written by me - don't know if I'll ever come to a definitive conclusion about the matter! This sounds marvelous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jean, no matter how safe they say it is, it just creeps me out! I will stick to pimentón!

      Delete
  11. What a lovely idea to serve fish on lentils! I'm not a fan of smoky stuff, so mine would be sans smoke :) I agree on that liquid smoke stuff; a bit disconcerting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Salmon and lentils is a classic French preparation, Christena - you will love it!

      Delete
  12. What a great pairing David! And I agree that the liquid smoke always did feel suspicious -- though I had no factual basis for that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Inger - I couldn't find any negatives about liquid smoke, except for a lot of intuitive feelings. And I always go with my intuition! :)

      Delete
  13. Looks wonderful, David. I'm with you on pimentón, I love the stuff. And with liquid smoke. I haven't read up on it, the whole idea is—you're exactly right—downright creepy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you can get both sweet and hot pimentón, Frank! So much flavor!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.