In Italy, lentils are believed to bring good luck, particularly if eaten as the first meal of the New Year.  And Signora Salvadore, with whom I lived during my semester in Florence, reminded me each time she served lentils for dinner, that when I someday had children, I must feed them lentils to keep them healthy – “piena di ferro!” – “full of iron!”, she would tell me.

I have followed her advice, and my daughters are huge lentil fans, as am I.  We eat a big bowl for lunch with bread and butter on a cold day, or over pasta for a quick dinner.  But I think I like them best with salmon.

Desirous of a little more luck in 2011 than I had in 2010, and in need of a menu for a special evening last week, I turned to Dorie Greenspan‘s roasted salmon and lentils, from her new book Around My French Table.  It being a work night, and there having been a little space of time since my guest and I had an evening together, this was the perfect recipe.  I could prepare the lentils on Wednesday night – toss them in a pot with some vegetables and chicken broth – and merely reheat them while the salmon roasted on Thursday night.  An arugula salad with a little blue cheese would round out the meal.

Dorie’s recipe worked like a charm! (As a member of her French Fridays with Dorie cooking group, I cannot give the recipe here, but I strongly recommend taking a trip to your local bookstore to pick up a copy.)  Dorie is certainly not the first person to offer a salmon and lentil recipe, but this one is terrifically basic while sacrificing nothing in flavor.   The moral of this little story?  I did my part to fortify us with luck and good health AND there was still plenty of evening left for catching up.