The Grass is always Greener

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When we lived in Ireland mon mari used to get our smoked salmon for us.  He'd ride his bicycle down through Monskstown to the ferry landing to get the little car ferry over to the island of Cobh.  It only held about 20 cars.  With luck it would be full and the old man collecting the fares would not get around to the bike and foot passengers to get their 50 cent passage.  Once on the other side he'd ride through Fota Gardens and Wild Life Park a bit before continuing on to the the young couple that smoked salmon. 

Salmon fishing is big in Ireland.  The house we wanted to buy (to do B & B) had 1000 metres of salmon fishing rights on the Blackwater River.  I'd never heard of selling fishing rights before but this was really a big deal.  (Another long story….maybe, someday). 

I don't know where the young man caught his fish but he smoked them in his backyard and sold out of the garage to the locals.  I can't remember how we found them but the price was good and the salmon was incredible.

Now we have to buy it prepackaged.  It's usually pretty good – as prepackaged stuff goes, but not of the same caliber as we had in Ireland.  So I don't mind heating some up a bit and tossing it with pasta or even rice for Kedgeree.  That would have been sacrilege to the wonderful, freshly caught and smoked salmon we ate in Ireland.  That salmon was garnished only with the barest scent of freshly squeezed lemon and eaten with buttered Brown Bread.

Pasta with Smoked Salmon

8 oz (250gr) Irish (or Scottish) smoked salmon
2 shallots
1 tbs fresh dill  substitute 1 tsp dried dill weed plus a bit for garnish
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs white wine
1/2 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream, 4 oz (125ml)
8 – 9 oz (250gr) fresh pasta, tagliatelle or linguine

While pasta cooks:  Thinly slice shallots.  Cut smoked salmon into strips.  (If using American 'hot smoked' salmon, cut into chunks).  Heat oil in small skillet.  Add shallots and sauté until tender and golden, about 7 minutes.  Turn heat to low and add wine, crème fraiche, dill and half of the smoked salmon.  Heat through but do not 'boil'.  Salmon should just turn light pink. When pasta is done, drain and put into warm pasta bowl. (you can warm it by rinsing in hot water – dry it).  Pour sauce over and toss lightly to combine.  Arrange the other half of the smoked salmon over the top, sprinkle with dill and serve. Asparagus500_2

What to have with this luscious pasta?  Asparagus, of course.

We could get it very rarely in Ireland.  In Andorra we could get green asparagus – shipped in from Israel and outrageously expensive. 

It seems that Europeans prefer big, fat white spears.  In Spain you rarely see them freshly cooked.  They are usually served canned, cold, with mayonnaise as a starter.

For fresh asparagus, I have come to prefer the violet.  It's thinner than the white, doesn't take as long to cook (but still longer than green) and doesn't require as much peeling.  And I can get it for a reasonable price.  An added benefit:  I don't get elbowed in the stomach by the sweet, gray-haired old ladies fighting for the fattest white spears. 

Whatever…..It's here, finally.    Le printemps est arrivé!

9 thoughts on “The Grass is always Greener”

  1. The pasta with salmon looks delicious, so luxurious! I envy you having eaten proper salmon in Ireland! One day that will be me!

  2. The Irish smoked salmon sounds divine but that’s what local and homemade is all about right!
    Funny what we look for in asparagus. I used to go for the thin ones, now I look for thicker but white isn’t much of an option unless I’m willing to pay a higher price.

  3. The asparagus looks wonderful. I’ve never seen it where I live.
    What a treat to have been able to get your Irish salmon in such a romantic and delightful way!

  4. I just posted this afternoon about roasted asparagus! Found it at our local grocers for .99# Can’t beat the price, thats for sure! We can get the white, but it’s usually $4 #, so I have never tried it.

  5. No asparagus here yet, we have snow on the ground! Yikes, I wasn’t ready for that! Just wanted to drop by again and tell you I really love your blog — I know it’s not on my sidebar for the moment but I’ve had a few issues with new Blogger, which is great otherwise. I wish I knew how to get left and right sidebars, but once again that may not be possible with Blogger. Anyway, have a great day! Your salmon pasta looks delicious, too…

  6. Snow! Oh no!
    We are very cold again. My garden is crying for attention and I am only partly through the vines. The hint of spring has disappeared.
    I just hope the asparagus doesn’t get damaged….

  7. Oh, How I love smoked salmon! We used to get it from the Indian Rez, homemade. I really miss that. Wonder if I can get her to bring me some?
    I’ve been eating those white asparagus all week, yum. Asparagus risotto next up.

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