Last night I met one of my former students, now an audio engineer with videography training, to discuss making a video for a grant Plain & Simple Press will apply for next month. As a lagniappe, I gave him a copy of the 40 Pounds/3 Months cookbook, which happened to reside in the back of the car. 🙂 He was tickled.
Here’s a little something I cooked up the other day that does not appear in the famed cookbook: a one-pan meal of salmon and asparagus, served over (uh-oh: optional second pan!) a bed of noodles. The poached salmon is based on a Julia Child recipe but uses wine instead of water.
• One or more pieces of salmon (one serving per diner)
• A bottle of inexpensive but drinkable white wine
• One or two cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
• Some herbs to your taste (I used fines herbes, but about anything you like will do)
• One to three teaspoons balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar, or lemon juice (amount depends on amount of asparagus needed)
• About the same amount of olive oil
• Salt & pepper to taste
• Canned or boxed Italian tomatoes, chopped or strained (not whole)
• Wide noodles or fettuccine (some cooked rice could substitute)
• A handful of asparagus (enough for all diner
• A spaghetti pot
• A sieve or small colander that will fit inside the pot
• A skillet or shallow pan large enough to accommodate the salmon in one layer (the spaghetti pot might do, if it’s wide enough), with a cover
• A pair of tongs
First, cook the noodles and parboil the asparagus: Fill the spaghetti pot with water and heat to boiling. Wash the asparagus and clip off enough of the ends so the spears will fit in the sieve or colander. Place the asparagus inside said sieve/colander and when the water comes to a boil, gently set the thing into the pan. When the asparagus turns bright green, use the tongs to lift the sieve — carefully! — out of the pan and set it in the sink. Run cold tap water over the asparagus to stop the cooking process.
To the boiling water, add enough noodles to serve your diners. Allow these to cook. Meanwhile, pour a little balsamic vinegar (or wine vinegar, or lemon juice) and some olive oil onto a dinner plate or into a bowl that will accommodate the asparagus in a flat layer. Add a little salt and pepper, as desired. Cook the pasta al dente and drain into the colander.
Into the skillet (or, after the noodles are cooked, into the wide spaghetti pot), pour enough white wine to pretty well cover the fish. Add the chopped garlic and enough dried herbs to cover the palm of your hand. Bring the wine to a simmer.
Set the salmon slices into the simmering wine. Cover and allow to cook for a couple of minutes — if the fish is defrosted, this should not take long.
Shortly, take the blanched asparagus and set it neatly into the pan with the poaching fish. Recover.
In another three to five minutes, check the pan. The fish should be almost cooked. Remove the asparagus and place it into the vinegar/olive oil mix you prepared. Roll the spears around to coat them with the dressing.
Into a bowl, pour out enough of the canned tomatoes to make enough sauce for as many pieces of fish as you will serve. Set aside.
If necessary, gently turn the salmon over to complete cooking. The fish should be cooked through but not overcooked. Place the pasta on the plates and arrange the salmon slices over it, with a serving of asparagus on the side.
Add a few tablespoonsful of the cooking wine to the tomatoes. Mix them together and dress the salmon and pasta with this mixture.
Et voilà! A very tasty, very easy meal, prepared with a minimum of pots and pans!
Salmon and pasta image: DepositPhotos, © ilolab