Unusually there wasn’t much in the fridge but the freezer harboured a portion of salmon and a packet of peas; there was a collection of different pastas in the cupboard and some fresh herbs were brightly singing their fragrancy on the kitchen windowsill. Once an idea had formed in my head, I had to nip off to the local small supermarket – but that’s less than 5 minutes away so almost counts as ‘in the store cupboard’ – and then there I was, all set to go!
This is the kind of recipe that can quickly be put together and easily expanded; one portion of salmon could easily be stretched to two or even three servings. Never be hooked into quantities, especially where pasta is involved. Thus the following recipe is more vague than my normal ones – but just add appropriate quantities for the number of people you are feeding. I promise it will all come out well in the end!
Pasta with Salmon, Peas, Cream & Fresh Herbs
If your salmon is frozen, then take it from the freezer ahead of time to defrost thoroughly. My piece was about 140g; one average portion. I don’t own a microwave but my oven has a defrost setting, so in an emergency either of these can be used. Now gather together the rest of the ingredients.
Put the salmon in an ovenproof dish, pour over a little olive oil and smear round the fish, then put a knob of butter on the top and put into a 180 Fan/200 C oven for 15 minutes. Remove and roughly flake it into fairly big pieces with a knife and fork. Now start putting the sauce together and also put your pasta on to cook – especially if you use some orecchiette as I did that takes 13-15 minutes to cook. I allow 75-100g per person – depending on size of appetites!
Finely chop a small onion and put in a large pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and about 25g butter. Fry gently until soft and then add a good glug of dry vermouth (you could use white wine but I always have some vermouth to hand especially for cooking as a bottle lasts a long time and doesn’t go off quickly like wine). Allow this to bubble for about 5 minutes then pour in some single cream till the sauce looks nice and creamy. Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat. Taste and then season with salt as needed and a good grinding of black pepper.
Meanwhile, cook some peas and drain when ready. Finely chop a small bunch of fresh herbs – I used parsley, mint and basil.
Add the cooked salmon and peas to the pan with the fresh herbs and give a good stir. Now add the cooked pasta and mix everything together well, giving the seasoning a final check.
Now it’s ready to serve. It’s a really delicious combination of flavours. You could serve it without cream (if you don’t have a handy supermarket nearby) but I think the creaminess with the salmon is a wonderful touch.