Oct 08 2011

Pasta ai frutti di mare in salsa salmone affumicato

Category: RecipesDave @ 18:09


This kinda happened the other night when we wanted something like the seafood dish I often make on a Friday evening but didn’t fancy any seafish in it… apart from, perhaps salmon. I had a rough idea of what I was going to do when I started out but it evolved as I went on.


It is, I am assured very, very good.



Ingredients for four people


Two 20cm/8″ squid, cleaned & pen removed, per 2 people. Use tentacles chopped into fairly large pieces, if present.
230g/8oz salmon fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces.
230g/8oz Raw tiger prawns
115g/4oz smoked salmon, very finely chopped.
4 large shallots, very thinly sliced
Olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper, depending on taste. Don’t overdo it or you’ll kill the smoked salmon.
3/4 teaspoon ground dried lime peel


Use a very large frying pan or deep paella pan. Add sufficient olive oil to lightly coat the surface, and a large knob of butter.


Heat gently until the butter has melted then add the shallots & adjust the heat until they are cooking very gently. As they are cooking, add the finely chopped mushrooms, ground dried lime peel, oregano, tarragon and pepper. Stir well.


Sweat the shallots for 5 minutes or so, stirring & tossing the mixture occasionally.


I use frozen salmon fillets for this recipe and they are in individual plastic bags. When you thaw them, there’s a load of salmon-y liquid in the bags. Don’t waste it! Add it to the pan – it’ll quickly turn into a cream-coloured “stuff” – and stir it in. The clear liquid remaining is OK to leave there. If you’re using fresh salmon & don’t get that liquid, you may want to add a little fish stock if available. Add a little more olive oil if it has become too watery overall – we want to fry things, not boil them.


Add the salmon pieces and fry, coating with the shallot mixture. Turn the pieces so as many “sides” as possible are face-down. I use a pair of tongs for this but a small spatula and a palette knife work too. They should be done in 5 minutes or less. Very slightly underdone doesn’t matter as (a) the outside surfaces will be mostly sealed and (b) they will shortly be reheated. They aren’t left like this long enough to pose a health threat.


Carefully remove the salmon pieces from the pan, leaving as much of the shallot mixture behind as possible – I use the side of the tongs to scrape the mixture off of the cubes. Put the cubes in a ceramic/china/glass bowl and cover.


Give the mixture in the pan a good stirring. Add a little more oil if required.


Add the roughly cut mushrooms and stir them in.


If you’re using frozen squid, you can use any liquid from the defrosting that you can collect and add that to the pan as well (not too much!) Add the squid rings and tentacles if using, stir in and fry until just cooked, stirring pretty much continuously.


Remove the squid and add to the salmon pieces in the bowl, leaving behind as much of the shallot and; mushroom mixture as possible, as for the salmon.


Give the mixture in the pan a good stirring. Add a little more oil if required.


Add the prawns, stir in and fry until just cooked, stirring pretty much continuously. Make sure each prawn is turned over once so they are evenly cooked without one side going rubbery.


Remove the prawns and add to the salmon pieces & prawns, leaving behind as much of the shallot & mushroom mixture as possible, as for the salmon.


Give the mixture in the pan a good stirring. Add a little more oil if required and add the smoked salmon. Stirring continuously, cook for three or four minutes until the mixture is starting to look vaguely like a sauce.


Add the sour cream, stir in vigorously and keep stirring until it has “taken effect” keep going until it will coat the back of a spoon and stay there.


It’s now too thick for a pasta sauce so add the sherry. Also, add the cooked seafood back in, together with any juices that have collected in the bowl. Use a spatula to get every last drop of them. Stir continuously on a low light to evaporate off the alcohol but try not to let the mixture boil. It may bubble a bit but that’s just the alcohol leaving. This can take another five minutes. Check the “thickness”: it should now be more-or-less right for a pasta sauce. The seafood should now be well heated through, so spoon over long pasta in large, preheated bowls and serve.


Keep any kind of black pepper well away from it!


Wine: A good Prosecco or Pinot Grigio del Trentino or Alto Adige – not del Veneto! Probably a Chablis would be good, but not too good an example as the flavour would be too strong.


There’s not much in the way of vegetable in this dish to keep it balanced so either serve a separate side salad, afterwards, or a side bowl of hot fine beans with it.





If you don’t like smoked salmon, leave it out and add the flaked salmon fillets to the sauce instead of the smoked salmon, mashing it into the sauce it as it cooks. Use another fine-flavoured fish instead of the salmon fillet to provide the bite-size pieces. I would probably go for monkfish but use whatever’s good where you get your fish, as long as it will complement the other flavours.


The sourness of the sour cream doesn’t really come through very much but it is noticeable. You can use double cream or yoghurt – the latter plain and unsweetened for preference. It doesn’t work that well with low-fat substitutes if you are using smoked salmon as the mixture can be somewhat sharp and salty.


The classic other alcohol to use in a dish like this would be Pernod, assuming you like aniseed.


It would probably go rather well on tagliatelle all’uova. I guess it’d also be OK on rice – I’d go for brown rice with perhaps a small amount of vegetable stock.


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