This week was the week for salmon in a jar. according to Dorie, one could
eat the cured salmon straight out of the jar or roast them. Once I read that you could roast it and it comes out really nice and satiny, I decided I would cure the salmon, in the jar, and wait a day or two and make a nice salmon linguine with it! Maybe even keeping some of the salmon in the jar for another day, since Dorie says that the salmon will keep.
Finding the thickest, most uniform salmon fillets gave the poor kid at the fish counter something to do – he was very scientific and meticulous about it, probably driving the other people waiting to be helped a bit stir-crazy, as he lined up the largest he had found and measured the other fillets against it, and weighing them out until he got to just over one pound. I thanked him as he wrapped up the fish, thanking my lucky stars that I managed to get there on a morning where the salmon was fresh and not farm raised (or previously frozen)! They hadn’t even been sitting on the ice too long! Can you say score?!
I decided on some lemon thyme, because the smell of it is just so delicious and the pasta I decided to make finishes with some lemon thyme and it would just tie the pasta and salmon in a jar together nicely. That day at the market was pretty remarkable, as I also managed to get the egg pasta fresh, made that morning! I couldn’t believe my good luck as I carried my purchases, and Mei on my hip – diving for the grocery bag to find something to chew on, to the car.
It took a long time to decide on exactly which pasta recipe to try out with Dorie’s salmon, but I landed on one that I came across at The Traveler’s Lunchbox, a blog written by a woman named Melissa that blogs about the food she eats around the world, her travels and the food she makes. This particular recipe she calls the little black dress of dinner. I do love creamy pastas where the sauces leaves a lingering, silky film over each pasta strand and stuck between its ridges, and the salmon excited me because I do love good seafood, especially when you can get an amazing pasta sauce with great fish, nothing is better! Except maybe a little garlic bread on the side! So this one was defiantly worth trying! But before we can make the pasta, the salmon must be prepared!
I washed, scaled and dried the salmon, cured it in the brine overnight, then rinsed, dried and prepared it for packing into jars. The carrots and onions left Mei rubbing her eyes a bit, so we had to re-locate her for the duration of the packing and wipe her eyes clean with some cold water but she didn’t cry! A true sous chef in the making prehaps??
I’m not sure if there were enough seeds between the layers of the fish so I added a couple more (ssshhhh!), only time will tell if it was a good idea or not. I made sure I made this a few nights in advance so I could enjoy the salmon in a jar, roasted, after a day of bathing with the aromatics in the fridge. The lemon thyme smelled divine next to the salmon and peppercorns and just made it harder to wait for dinner the next night!
Pulling it out of the fridge, you can see the color changed a bit in the salmon and the onions look a bit softer, which means that all the flavors are infusing together in a beautiful medley that will become dinner! For kicks, I ate a piece right out of the jar while I got the oven warming up to roast the rest of it. That pasta calls for the salmon bits to be cooked directly in the sauce but by adding it in the last few minutes of the cooking, then I can just heat the salmon through and roast it, as Dorie suggests. So I did!
It took almost no time whatsoever to get the flesh to set during the roast and since I left the onions and aromatics on the fish in the oven, that meant that the flavor and scent lingered on the fish and injected the wonderful flavors right into the pasta sauce too! Lately, I have been making all my pasta sauces from scratch and this is one I will be putting some spins on and adding a few more things to make it a little more versatile for me. I think some lovely fresh peas would go so well with the salmon too! But anywhoo, the salmon crumbled into nice sized chunks in the sauce, and once the tagliatelle noodles were cooked through and most of the pasta water drained, we tossed the pasta in the same pot the pasta was cooked in, with the sauce and it came out blushing and beautiful, beckonning for a fork! I paired it with a fresh roll that came out of the oven just an hour before the pasta was done (my first ever bread baking experience, check back tomorrow for details!), and I had a wonderful dinner to sit down to. This is definantly another Dorie dinner that we will have again and add to our rotation!
PS. Mei even slept through the baking of the bread and pasta sauce making, so we had dinner early and I had a chance to enjoy some of it before she got up! How lucky!! And I ommitted the second jar with the potatoes because I was making a pasta, although I will make both jars next time and make a different dish with the pasta so I can have the potatoes too!
To see what the other French Fridays with Dorie cooks made and how their salmon in a jar fared, click here.