Over the summer, my youngest daughter (who loves to cook ) and I got into a pretty good routine of going to the market each day to pick out what we needed for dinner. Along the way, we would pick up the daily coffee sample that was being poured (yes, my daughter likes the flavor of coffee). There were samples like “Apricot Breeze”, ”Raspberry Bliss”, and “Kona Beach Blend”; all very summery and light.
Well, this week we noticed there was a change at the coffee bar… the summertime flavors had been replaced with “Pumpkin Spice” and “Hazelnut”. What? It’s still 90+ degrees outside! Labor Day has not even passed! These are comforting flavors I like to sip when I’m wearing jeans and a soft cozy sweater. I could not help but wonder what the heck was going on…it’s still summer, right?
But as I looked around the store, I noticed there were other subliminal hints that fall was approaching. Magazine covers offered up pictures of soups and stews. There were displays of candy and Halloween decorations. Summer had ended at the store. My friendly neighborhood retailer was letting me know it was time to move on and change the way I was thinking.
Well, even though I did flip my calendar to September and know fall is right around the corner, it’s still hard to recognize when you live in an area where chilly temperature are a long way off. It will be a while before jeans and sweaters make it out of my closet, and I am not ready for beef bourguignon or apple pie. So in the meantime, entrees that are light and fresh are still on my mind.
This is a pasta dish I love make with fresh salmon. The fish may be poached ahead of time and made along with the dressing, which makes pulling it all together a snap when you are ready to serve. The dish is served at room temperature, so when the temperatures outside are soaring, you can cool off with an entree that is light on your palate.
Fettucine with Salmon, Roasted Asparagus and Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette
For the poached salmon:
1 1-pound salmon fillet, de-boned with skin left on
2 stalks celery, cut into 2” pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cup white wine
2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
For the creamy lemon vinaigrette:
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 pound fettucine pasta
Salt for cooking pasta
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch-thick pieces
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat well. Bake in a 400 degree oven 15 minutes, until tender. Set aside (may be roasted 4 hours ahead.)
Prepare the poached salmon:
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Place the celery, onions, black peppercorns, white wine and water in the bottom of a baking dish. Lightly salt and pepper the salmon fillet. Place the salmon in the baking dish, skin-side down. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until the fish flakes. Immediately remove the salmon from the poaching liquid and cool completely. Remove the skin and flake the fish into small pieces . Set aside.
Prepare the vinaigrette:
Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients into a blender or a container large enough to accommodate an immersion blender. Blend ingredients well. Set aside.
Prepare the fettucine:
Prepare a pot of well-salted water and bring to a boil. Add fettucine and cook until al dente. Drain fettucine and place back into the pot, but keep the pot off the heat. Toss with 4 tablespoons of butter, coating the fettucine completely. Add the salmon and vinaigrette and toss gently to blend. Top with asparagus and tomatoes.