A lot of my recipes are heavy on the seasonings and spices, so I thought to offer something a bit more mild. This one is pretty fast and easy, light, and a nice romantic dinner for two. It goes great with a sweeter white wine. You will need:
- 1 6 oz. salmon fillet
- 1/4 lb. penne pasta
- About thirty fresh peas
- Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 lemon
- finely-chopped chives
- olive oil
Start two pots of water, one larger than the other. Salt both pots of water. Crush the clove under a knife. Peel the carrot, and chop it into about 1″ pieces. Also chop the celery into 1″ pieces. Add the juice of half the lemon, garlic, bay leaf, celery, carrot, and chives into the smaller pot.
When the bots are both at a nice boil, add the pasta to the larger pot and the salmon to the smaller pot. Depending on the size of the pot you’re using to poach, you may need to slice the fillet in half down the middle. Cook both for about ten minutes, stirring the pasta constantly, until the pasta is al dente and the salmon is pink and firm. Drain the pasta, dress with the olive oil and the raw peas. Toss and grate the cheese on the pasta.
Remove the salmon from the poach with a slotted spoon or a fry spider, when it’s just firm all the way through. Place atop of the pasta, sprinkle with salt and pepper and dress with lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately.
You will discard the vegetables from the poach, unless you want to save the poach water for stock. You’ll get a nice, interesting flavor from the flavors in the poach, but it won’t be very spicy. Salmon is famous for not taking a sautée or a grill well because like all fish it’s a bit delicate, but also because it is rich in albumen, the same protein found in egg whites, which can create an unappetizing goo on the outside of your fish before serving as the meat expands under heat if you handle it improperly. Poaching will remove that, and your salmon should come out a nice light pink, with the bright green chives accenting it.
It occurs to me that you’d want to serve a salad first so there’s a vegetable. It also occurs to me that the dual cooking for the pasta and the fish provides a nice opportunity for a couple, say a couple on a dinner date at one of their homes, to cook together as they share a bottle of wine, talk about the food, and stand in proximity to one another. So, maybe that’s a nice date meal for all you single Readers out there, particularly if your date is averse to strong spices.