I'm trying things a bit differently. In the past when I've started a series, I've completed it before starting another series (or even another post). I'm current going through two series right now (Post Quake Japan and the Post Project Food Blog - What's Next? ). As a result, I've decided to vary up the posts and alternate between the series as well as throw in cooking and restaurant posts in between. Feel free to give feedback if you like it one way vs. the other!
If you have high quality ingredients, you've overcome 90% of the battle.
I'm slowly learning that good ingredients alone go a really, really long way. If you have good ingredients, you really don't have to be a great cook to make pretty tasty dishes.
We were stuck in a bind the other night. The weather was outside was a bit frightful (ummm, hello freak October snowstorm!), and Bryan was in the thick of battling his awful cold. We really didn't feel like going out, yet we had absolutely no groceries at home (having just returned from Japan not too long ago).
Now, I'm usually a "cook-from-scratch" kind of gal. In fact, I hardly keep any boxed or canned foods around the house. Serendipitously, (and thankfully!), it just so happened that I had recently attended a Muir Glen cooking class with Will Gilson in which they sent us home with a few cans of Reserve tomatoes. I had also just received my last shipment of Copper River Salmon goods as a part of my partnership with the Copper River Organization in Alaska this past summer.
When I combined these two excellent ingredients with just a few more simple things I already had at home, I came up with a fantastic pasta that only took 20 minutes to make.
The basics behind most of these simple Italian sauces is pretty similar. Saute (in butter or olive oil or a mix of both) sliced onions and tomato paste (optionally red pepper flakes if you like a kick!), until the onions are soft, about 5-8 minutes. Throw in the minced garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Open up those cans!
Add one can of diced tomatoes (ideally a really flavorful one, like the Muir Glen reserve tomatoes), and add one can of salmon (ideally, high quality wild caught salmon, like Alaskan Copper River Salmon). Stir all ingredients and cook for about 5-10 minutes. I don't really think it matters so much how long you cook it since these ingredients are already cooked.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to the instructions on the box. We bought artisanal paccheri from Whole Foods, which was deliciously chewy, almost like fresh pasta. If it's fresh homemade pasta, cook for only 1-2 minutes maximum.
Drain the pasta and combine it with the sauce in the pan. Having just recently fallen in love with Japanese yuzu paste, I decided to add a teaspoon of the potent stuff to the pasta.
I loved it!
It added a nice spicy kick and gorgeous floral notes of yuzu.
Serve with chopped basil. If you want even more kick (which Bryan usually does), optionally add a teaspoon of Sriracha sauce.
Note: if you don't have yuzu paste, perhaps add a splash of Sriracha for the kick and a bit of lime zest for the citrus notes? Just an idea . . .
Pasta with Salmon, Tomatoes, and Yuzu
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can Muir Glen reserve diced tomatoes
1 7 oz can Alaska Copper River Wild Salmon
1 teaspoon yuzu paste
1 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ lb dried pasta
fresh basil, chopped
Heat a pan over medium heat and add oil. Saute sliced onions and tomato paste (and optionally red pepper flakes), until the onions are soft, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add a can of diced tomatoes and a can of salmon and mix well.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente according to box instructions.
Drain the pasta and mix it with the tomato/salmon sauce. Add Japanese yuzu paste (about 1 tsp) to the pot. Serve with chopped basil. Optionally add a teaspoon of Sriracha if you want a kick.
I have no idea how this dish would taste with normal canned tomatoes and normal canned farm-raised salmon. My guess is that it wouldn't be nearly as good, although you never know. The yuzu paste and/or Sriracha & lime could possibly make up for it!
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