Panko-Crusted Salmon with French Lentils

There are over twenty cookbooks on my kitchen shelf, the collection squeezed between a small, black, plastic bookend on one end, and the beige kitchen wall on the other end.  From the kitchen, you can see the various spines, with a variety of colors, types, and themes.  There are books on baking and grilling.  There are books devoted only to Italian and Greek cooking.  And there are books from restaurants encountered along the way.

My collection, in other words, has a nice variation.  Except in one respect.  On the wall side, wedged between my Cooking Light Desserts and Justin Wilson’s Cajun Cookbook, sits seven books, each spine beginning with the words “Barefoot Contessa.”

Ina Garten is, in other words, my go to chef.  So with my New Year’s Resolution to make more main courses, I naturally turned to Ina’s newest book.

Panko-Crusted salmon with french lentils

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That?

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
YIELD: Serves 4

2/3 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
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
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 (about 1 heaping teaspoon) and then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard on each salmon fillet.  The mustard 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 and/or roasted aspargus.


9 responses to “Panko-Crusted Salmon with French Lentils

  1. Kristine Waggoner

    Ina is my go to chef, too! Love her.

  2. First, we need to remember to watch Ina when I come to visit next. LOVE the name of her new cookbook — ha!

    Second, this looks delish. When I simmer lentils, I like to add a little salt, a few crushed garlic cloves, and a bay leaf to the water (or broth). The panko crust looks great!

  3. That’s true. I guess in all the “What Not to Wear” and “Say Yes to the Dress” excitement, we totally forgot about Ina!

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  5. I have yet to own an Ina Garten cookbook, but you’re convincing me to go get one right now!

  6. hey Charles – if you had to recommend just 1 of Ina’s cookbooks, which one do you think is her best one?

  7. I like her second-newest, “Back to Basics” the most. Her “Family Style” and “At Home” are also really good. The recipes in each of these three are all delicious, down-to-earth, and easy to make.

  8. Looks delicious! And, to Ina’s point, easy! I’m going to try it soon! And, love the resolution to make more entrees, I need to branch out in that area myself– thanks for the reminder. Also, your plating symmetry is awesome.

  9. How do you manage to have cooked fish and uncooked Panko on top?
    where is the sauce?

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