I’ll never forget the first time I had smoked salmon.
It was the longest lunch of my life.
I’d grown up eating smoked fish – smoked carp, actually.
I loved it. Smoked carp is a bit on the fatty side, but it was a local specialty.
The kind of local specialty one bought from scruffy looking old guys who carried it around wrapped in brown paper…. Usually selling it in the local bars, but a street corner would work in a pinch.
They caught the fish and smoked it themselves.
It was hot-smoked fish, meaning that the fish was cooked with hot smoke and had the appearance and texture of cooked fish. The most common type of smoked salmon sold in US supermarkets is hot-smoked. (Lox is cold-smoked)
The first time I had ‘proper’ smoked salmon was at a business lunch in London. The people we were with had been telling us all morning that the restaurant we we’re having lunch at had the best smoked salmon in the City.
Naturally, I had to order it.
Naturally, I assumed I knew what I would be eating and assumed I would love it.
To say I was surprised when the waiter placed a plate of paper-thin, glistening, cold-smoked salmon in front of me would be an understatement.
Cold-smoked fish is smoked at a much lower temperature so is not ‘cooked’. It closely resembles raw fish.
The entire plate was covered with the salmon. The only accompaniment was a lemon wedge and a bit of buttered bread.
I took a bite.
All I could think was that I was eating raw fish.
And that I didn’t want to be eating raw fish.
Did I mention that this was my first trip abroad?
Did I mention that this was a rather important business meeting?
I ate the salmon.
All of it.
It took forever – or, at least, seemed like it did at the time.
Funny thing was….. by the time I ate the last bite I rather liked it.
I ordered it again that night for dinner.
I did like it!
Just think: had I not been forced to eat that entire plate of salmon (good manners required I eat it all) I would probably have missed out on what is now one of my most favorite foods.
Purists would be appalled at putting it with pasta, and warming a bit of it up….
Lighten up – I only use the cheap stuff when I cook it….
The good stuff only gets a light squeeze of lemon.
I’m sending this lovely pasta to
Cynthia, of The Kitchen Slave, and the host of this weeks Presto Pasta Night, the weekly
pasta festival founded by Ruth, of Once
Upon a Feast.
Stop by The Kitchen Slave on Friday for all the wonderful pasta dishes.
And, next week I’m hosting so start thinking about what wonderful dishes you can make for me…..
Pasta with Smoked Salmon
1 1/4 cups dried pasta
1 tbs olive oil
4 tbs white wine
3 tbs fresh lemon juice, about 1 small lemon
3/4 cup (6oz, 180gr) crème fraiche or Greek yogurt
2 tsp dill weed
6oz (180gr) smoked salmon, (the moist kind: Irish or Scottish)
Thinly slice shallots and sauté in oil until tender. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in crème fraiche and heat through. Slice salmon into strips. Add 3/4 of the salmon, the dill and lemon juice to the crème fraiche. Heat through but do not let boil. Add pasta and toss well to combine. Put it into a serving bowl, garnish with reserved salmon and serve.
Don’t forget – next week the Party is chez nous – details to follow.