This is without a doubt one of my favourite meals of all time. I’m trying desperately to cut down on the carb, cause for some reason they live with me for months after they have been consumed, but when you serve up one of these babies, I am more than happy to accommodate those carbs anywhere they want to go.
So May 7th 2014 we voted in the fifth South African democratic elections. In my world of food, this means another excuse to cook. Of course, in reality we ended up going to the hood; voting and then going for a drink at the local watering hole. A visit to the watering hole often means we won’t get home at a decent hour – which ordinarily would throw my cooking schedule right out the water but not yesterday. I was wise enough to defrosted four Salmon steaks – I had a vision. Hahaha.
This recipe is so quick and easy to make and if you had to order this a restaurant, you will end up paying an obscene amount of money for something you can whip up in your kitchen in less than 20 minutes.
Of course it is advisable to use fresh Salmon but sometimes that’s not possible so I always make sure I have at least one pack of four in my freezer.
4x Salmon steaks / fillets
1 whole onion (finely chopped)
A pocket of button Mushrooms
1 cup (250ml) of fresh cream
Ground black pepper
1 tbsp Basil Pesto
Half a cup of good quality white wine (Sav Blanc or Chenin Blanc, it’s really up to you)
You will be surprised at how easy and tasty this meal will turn out, even for the amateur cook.
Put a medium sized pot of water on the stove. Fill the pot half way and let boil. The most economical way to do this, is actually to boil the water in the kettle and decant into a pot on the stove. This not only saves you electricity but quickens the process. Add a pinch of salt to the water and add your pasta. Now for this recipe, I prefer to use penne pasta but that doesn’t mean this recipe only works with penne. You could use fettuccini, spaghetti, sedani whatever really.
Spicing your Salmon.
It’s advisable to only spice the fleshy side of the fish. This is because when you cook it; the fleshy side is what will suck in all the flavour. Rub your mixture of fish spice, black pepper and mixed herb onto the fish, sprinkle slightly making sure you cover the fish but don’t overwhelm the fish. Salmon is a tasty, flavourful fish, the only reason we add these spices is for additional flavour, not to create another taste.
Place a non-stick pan on the stove, drizzle sufficient olive oil just to coat the base of the pan and again don’t overdo it. Turn up the heat to let the pan heat up.
Once the pan is hot, place your salmon skin side down. Here is a trick many don’t know, when you pan fry fish, always start with the skin side and let that fry for about two minutes before you disturb it. Don’t poke and prod or rock the pan to avoid sticking. Actually, you can push your fish down gently with a spatula, (it is tempting to check – DON’T) you will be surprised. Your fish will stay intact and the skin will not peel off. Trust me on this one. Give your fish another three minutes on the fleshy side and then remove and let rest.
In the same pan add a small amount of olive oil, add the chopped onion, garlic and mushroom. Let that mixture fry for about a minute. Once your onion begins to turn translucent, add a slash of wine. This will realise what other people would normally have washed out of the pan, but my peoples, that’s where the flavour hides. Let the alcohol cook away. That should take about another 30 seconds to a minute.
In that minute, while the alcohol leaves your wine, chop up your salmon steaks. I like them chucky, some people like then smaller. Word of advice; don’t make the pieces too small because they will break up further when added them to the sauce.
Now, put your salmon back into the pan with the onion, garlic, mushroom and wine for about 30 seconds. Add the cream, drop the heat to moderate and cover for about 2 minutes. Remove the lid and stir gently. Turn down your heat to low and add grated parmesan cheese and basil pesto.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
There are two schools of the thought when it comes to serving. Some people want to mix the salmon sauce into the pasta and have one giant pot of goodness, which is fine but I find that if you have not measured your ingredients properly (which comes with practice) you run the risk of having less sauce than pasta, which will result in a rather dry dish.
My way is simply, when serving, put your pasta in a bowl, then add as much or as little sauce as you want. This gives you better control and you never run the risk of a runny soggy dish or a dry and bland pasta.
Guys, Enjoy. I always do. This meal never disappoint and even my six year old who loathes the idea of fish, cleans up.