Espresso Rubbed Blackened Salmon with Lentil Herb Rice and Wilted Chard (.75-1 Total Cook Time)

Quick Overview: (Makes 2 servings for a single person)

I recently started using a mealdelivery service called Sun Basket which sends food to your doorstep and they give you recipes on what to do and then you make them.  So far I’ve enjoyed my experiences with them.  That said, since I’m me, I kind of refuse to just simply do everything they tell me, so I tend to put my own little twists to their recipes.  For the most part the only major things I’ve done to adjust their primary recipe is that I’ve added french lentils to the rice and I’ve modified some of the seasonings they used (in most cases I added more seasoning).

Overall, this is a fairly “back to the basics” sort of meal.  There isn’t anything terribly complex here and this recipe in particular mostly an exercise in your ability to time your multiple tasks well while also practicing fundamental kitchen skills such as cooking your proteins to the right temperature and chopping vegetables.  However don’t let this recipes simplicity fool you!  It might not have any fancy bells and whistles but it is quite delicious nonetheless.

PS – If you do choose to try out Sun Basket, use my referral code!  You’ll get 40 dollars off of your first order.



  • Greek Yogurt
  • Capers (basically pickled flower buds if you’re unfamiliar with them, they have a slightly sour but mostly salty taste)
  • Approximately one pound of salmon (two fillets)
  • Chard
  • One Lemon
  • A cup of basmati rice
  • Fresh Mint, Cilantro, and Dill
  • Optional:  Fried Shallots
  • My Additions: Espresso, Parsley, Smoked Paprika, Cayenne, Red Chili Flakes, Sumac, French Lentils


  1. Start by picking off the dill leaves and chopping them up the dill very finely.  Don’t use the stem.  Place into a small bowl.
  2. Zest some of the lemon rind and slice the lemon in half.  Juice half of the lemon and mix it up with the greek yogurt (roughly a quarter of a cup’s worth or a few spoonfuls) and the dill.  Set it aside for now.

  3. Wash your chard and chop the chard up along the stems.  Cook them in a pan with oil, salt, pepper until the leaves have wilted.  Set aside for later.

  4. In a small pot or pan, heat up approximately two cups of water.  Once that water starts to come to a boil place around a quarter of a cup of french lentils into the water.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and leave them in the pot for around 20-30 minutes.
  5. Prep your rice by rinsing it off.  Once finished, place the rice in a rice cooker with a mix of dried parsley, sumac, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.  Add in ~ 3/4 of a cup of water and let the rice cooker do its thing.  If you lack a rice cooker you can do the same thing with a pot on the stove.  This will take around 15-20 minutes total.  You will want to combine the rice, spices, and water in a pot, bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover it.
  6. To prep the rub for the salmon mix the following spices together in a separate bowl from your dill/lemon/yogurt mixture: espresso grinds, cayenne, red chili flakes, smoked paprika, sumac, salt, pepper.   You’re going to want to make this mixture more focused on the paprika and sumac as opposed to the espresso and spicy stuff. Your spice mixture will probably still look like it’s mostly made up of espresso (which is fine), but I’d recommend being more conservative with how much espresso you put into the rub.P1016929.JPG
  7. Prep a medium sized pan by heating it up on low heat while you score the skin of the salmon (basically you’re going to make diagonal cuts on the skin of the fish about a inch and a half across in both directions).   The purpose of scoring is to help the skin crisp up more during the cooking purpose.  You will want to use a sharp knife for this (I didn’t which was a mistake on my part as I happened to the grab the crappiest knife I had on hand at the time).
  8. Once you’ve scored your fish and patted it dry, press it flesh down (or skin side up) into the rub.  Make sure to get a good coating on the surface of the fish.   Once this has been done with both pieces of fish, place them into the pan you’ve been heating up skin side down and leave them alone for around 4-5 minutes on medium heat.

  9. Flip the salmon over and cook for another 3-4 minutes under heat.  The skin should look like the picture below (or even more browned).

  10. Chop the leaves of the mint and the entirety of the cilantro finely.  Rinse the capers. Once the rice is finished cooking mix the chopped herbs and capers into the rice.
  11. Enjoy!  I personally would squeeze a bit of lemon over the salmon and use the dill-lemon greek yogurt to top off the salmon.  Garnish the rice with the fried shallots.

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