I love salmon and try to eat it once a week, not only because I like it but because it’s full of healthy fatty acids so is good for me. I always buying organic as the poor salmon has been much abused by the fish farming industry in recent years and most specimens are chemically-infested, bland-tasting fish, which I prefer to avoid. Of course there’s nothing like wild salmon for taste but that’s available for only a few months of the year – and at a price, but a wonderful treat. So I settle for organically farmed salmon most of the time.
I don’t usually do anything fancy with it, just simply grilling or roasting it and serving with nice vegetables. I always put it into a fish pie with some white fish and prawns and it makes excellent fishcakes. However, this evening I decided to be a little more creative; not massively creative and something very simple, but still a little bit more of a treat. Well, it is Sunday!
I had the last of a packet of black squid ink pasta in my cupboard and thought I’d use that with the salmon.
Eating seppia pasta always make me think of Venice, where I first remember eating it, at the wonderful Corte Sconta restaurant (although sadly the last time I went the lovely Rita had gone and it wasn’t quite so wonderful). The first time, with my daughter was magical, and we went back often for a while, whenever in Venice. I wanted to keep my dish simple so decided to add roasted salmon, which I’d break into large-ish pieces, slow-roasted tomatoes, some mint basil from my garden, and lots of olive oil and black pepper.
First of all I cooked the tomatoes. I’ve been buying some gorgeous cherry tomatoes on the vine from Sainsbury’s which are full of flavour. I knew the slow-roasting would bring out the flavour more, so I cut them in half (enough for one portion), covered them in a little olive oil and sprinkling of sea salt, and put them in a slow 150C/130 Fan/Gas 2 for an hour. This brings out the depth of flavour – the smell from my kitchen was fantastic! – but doesn’t dry them out.
Near the time I wanted to eat, I covered a portion of salmon in a little olive oil, seasoned and then roasted in the oven at 220C/200 Fan/Gas 7 for 12 minutes. I like it to be still pink and slightly underdone inside, which is also perfect for this kind of recipe where it will get a little more cooking when added to the pasta. With a fork, I broke the salmon into large-ish pieces ready to add to the pasta.
While the salmon was in the oven, I cooked the pasta. Mine needed 10 minutes (check the instructions on your packet) so I timed it to be ready at the same time as the salmon. When everything was ready, I drained the pasta, put it back in the saucepan and added the salmon, the tomatoes with all their gorgeous juices, some whole leaves of mint basil, a good glug of olive oil and plenty of black pepper.
I stirred over a medium heat for a couple of minutes to bring everything together and make sure it was nicely warm, then I transferred to a bowl. I served it with a simple green salad. Don’t be tempted to add Parmesan! The Italians don’t add Parmesan to fish pasta and it really doesn’t need it; it would spoil the taste.
It was very delicious; incredibly simple but wonderfully special in flavour. The mint basil, which I’ve just bought, it quite strong so check you like it if you have some, but otherwise some ordinary basil would do just as well, or even some chopped fresh parsley. I just felt it needed a touch of freshness from a fresh herb to make it really sing. I was very pleased with my supper and if you try it, I hope you enjoy it too!