Sunday, January 25, 2009

Smoked salmon with farfelle

Some meals, everything just comes together. This smoked salmon with farfalle is one of those dinners that just fell into place with little or no effort. Not only was the salmon tasty and easy, but it helped me save money twice! How could a dinner be better? Even the bread turned out well. I am excited, too, because it will be my first entry into Ruth at Once Upon a Feast's Presto Pasta Night hosted this week by Erin at Skinny Gourmet

Our supermarket chain periodically offers 10 cents off per gallon of gas for each $100.00 spent. We don't spend a lot at the supermarket, but we usually get 10 or 20 cents off every time they run the promo. Recently there was an offer of 40 cents off per gallon if I bought any 3 of a bunch of things from a list. Most were meats, which I get from local producers, but salmon and tilapia were also on the list, and I have been craving fish. That's one thing I miss in our commitment to eating local. I bought the fish, which was on special to begin with, and claimed my gasoline price reduction bounty.

I froze most of what I bought, since this is my only fish purchase for the next few months, but I smoked one package of salmon in my stovetop smoker.* After eating quite a bit of smoked salmon on bagels with cream cheese, I still had lots of yummy smoked salmon. I froze some of it to make chowder in a week or so, but I didn't want to freeze it all. A few minutes thought about what we had in the pantry and Viola!** A salmon and pasta dish.

I've made a good salmon lasagna in the past, but I wasn't interested in anything so heavy this time. I also wanted to avoid using a cream sauce. I thought a tri-colored farfalle would be a good pasta base for the salmon, but I was stumped for a sauce. Ordinarily I just toss ingredients with basil pesto sauce for a light pasta, but somehow basil didn't seem to be the right flavor for the salmon. I solved the problem by using some jarred bruschetta- mushroom and artichoke. Had I more time, I would have made the bruschetta. Next time, I promise.

2 cups tri-colored farfelle (bow-tie pasta)
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 red sweet bell pepper, coarsely chopped
4-6 fresh mushrooms, sliced or 1 small can
lemon infused olive oil
1 small jar mushroom bruschetta
1 small jar artichoke bruschetta (I used Gia Russa for both bruschettas, simply because the jar was gorgeous. Mea culpa to the Local Food Goddess)
6-8 oz smoked or poached salmon (not lox, although that would be good too!)
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella cheese balls in brine, drained and rinsed (I used some the size of peas- if you use the larger balls, cut them into quarters.)

Here's the process for 2-3 servings-
While boiling 2 cups of farfalle to al dente

Lightly saute onion, mushrooms and pepper in 2 Tablespoons lemon infused olive oil. Vegetables should remain crisp.

To the vegetable mixture- add 1/8 to 1/4 cup each jarred mushroom and artichoke heart bruschetta, stir to just combine.

Add salmon, flaked into large chunks and mozzarella. Toss to coat.

Drain pasta, put back in pot and add the salmon vegetable mixture- toss to coat.

I added some fresh Italian bread and followed the pasta with a cranberry-apple crisp. Chuck had his home-made 2008 Devil Dog wine with it.

When I make it again, I think I would add asparagus to the saute mix, just because I felt like this was a low-vegetable meal. I do have to say, I feel some trepidation because this is not a local meal at all. Eating local is such a large part of our lives anymore that deviating from the routine feels wrong. Somedays juggling my conscience along with everything else is overwhelming.

*I love this tool- it's like a heavy-duty 9 by 13 in cake pan with a fold out handle. To use, you sprinkle fine wood chips on the pan bottom, cover with a removable tray and rack for the meat, add meat, close the lid and set on your burner. My only complaint is that it is a hot smoking technique, and I long to do some cold smoking.

**Yes, I know it is supposed to be voila-


Skinny said...

Sounds delicious. And I LOVE that you smoked your own!

Ruth Daniels said...

Lucky you for saving all that $$$ and lucky us for getting your delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

Julia said...

Hi---are you cooking through the snow storm?

This sounds very good, but now you must tell us about that Devil Dog Wine.

As for the best black-eyed peas ever, I was surprised to hear they were had at your house, as I was quite sure they were on the table at my house! Okay, okay---you did grow your own, and this is impressive enough to keep you Number One.

Minnesota is decent today, but I hear from Southern Missouri folks that they're in a total sister was at the church last night cooking chili for 50 families (generator there)but no time to here's a cooking question, do you make chili the same for a couple of hundred folks and just more of it, or do you completely alter the recipie?

Keep warm, chefly hugs, Julia