We eat a lot of fish. I usually have fish on the menu at least once a week – sometimes more. I prefer to buy either whole fish or a whole filet if possible as it provides me with so many options. Trout is usually cooked whole. But I often cut up salmon to get two nice filets from the center, leaving the tail and head end for other uses.
On New Year’s Eve I made Salmon en Croute. I had a beautiful piece of wild caught salmon that gave me two filets perfect for the dish. The remaining pieces I wrapped up for the freezer. NOTE – the head end does not include the head!!!!! This week I am trying out Salmon filets in my new immersion cooker so I had the tail and head end of that filet. Friday those pieces came together and were the star of our dinner. The dish? Pasta with Smoked Salmon, Leeks and Peas.
I started the dish prep by smoking the salmon in my stove top smoker over Alder wood. About 15 minutes in the smoker and they were done. Granted, I could have just purchased the required amount of smoked salmon but why not use what’s on hand. I let the salmon cool so I could flake it for use in the dish.
That evening dinner came together in a snap. It was perfect for a cold winters night!
Pasta with Smoked Salmon, Leeks and Peas Serves 2
- 8 oz piece smoked salmon (do not use the sliced product)
- 1 tbl olive oil
- 1 tbl unsalted butter
- 1 medium leek, white and light green part only, washed, cut in half length-wise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted and drained
- 1/2 tbl tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (you can substitute a lower fat product but it will impact the mouth feel and creaminess of the sauce)
- 3/8 tsp dried tarragon
- 6 oz fettuccine or similarly sized pasta
- 1 1/2 tbl minced parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
Remove skin and bones from the smoked salmon and pull into pieces. Set a pot of salted water on to boil over high heat. While the water is heating, heat the olive oil and the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the leeks and peas, cover the skillet and cook , stirring often, until the leeks are tender. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until fragrant. Add the broth and the cream, raise the heat and bring to a boil Add the tarragon. Reduce the heat til the sauce is at a gentle boil and cook until the sauce is reduced by half.
Add the fettuccine to the boiling pasta water and cook until al dente. Do not overcook, you want some tooth to the pasta. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and add the sauce, salmon and parsley. Cook over gentle heat until the salmon is heated through and the sauce is lightly thickened. Add the reserved pasta water, a bit at the time if the pasta is too dry.
Divide into bowls and garnish with additional parsley.
I serve this with a baguette. Fast, filling and oh so good!