"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Summer in Winter: Fusilli with Salmon and Sorta Lemon Sauce

by Julie on November 21, 2011

in Minor Miracles, Dinner

salmon spawning

Baby it's cold outside

The nights are finally dropping into the 50s around here and I’ve dug my Ugg boots out from under the bed. It didn’t make any sense to make a summer dish tonight. But what do I know about convention?

And besides, I had to use the salmon. What to do?

The nits. They’ll eat salmon. They’ll eat pasta. Maybe I could combine the two for dinner. I mean, I know I’ve read about salmon and pasta dishes, I’ve just never made one before.

This could be good. Or it could be really, really bad.

I grilled the salmon and thought. How hard could it be? Wasn’t there a sauce involved? I would need to look it up but the boy had commandeered my laptop and was playing Minecraft so I couldn’t turn to the Internets. Instead, I looked at the 100 cookbooks I have taking up precious bookshelf space in the downstairs WC. And I found the one I was looking for.

365 Ways to Cook Pasta, by Marie Simmons, 1988, is a binder-like book (“with a washable Kivar cover!” it says proudly on the back) that was one of the old and random cookbooks I liberated from Barbara’s garage after she died.

I’ve flipped through it in the last seven years, but I’ve never made anything. It’s such an unassuming, unsexy little cookbook that it never made much of an impression, even on the likes of me.

Tonight, however, I had something in mind. And lo, there it was, entry # 284 “Linguine with salmon and lemon sauce.”

It was the lemon sauce I needed help with. Here’s the recipe, upon which I riffed.

And I was using fusilli, not linguine.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 sliced onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed


lemon zest

zest of one lemon, plus two TBspns juice

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley (I used cilantro, and only had a little bit)
I added a half red pepper, finely chopped. Because I had it, that’s why.
1 can red salmon, drained (I used frozen and grilled it myself)
Pasta, and Parmesan cheese to taste.

chopped red pepper

Because I had it

Cut your onions as thin as you can. Thinner than I probably did it. Saute them in the olive oil until tender, but not brown. Throw in those crushed garlic cloves. Throw in the bell pepper.

sliced onions

saute this

Add the lemon zest and the juice. Then the salmon.

This will not look like sauce, by the way.

Drain your pasta. Toss it with the sorta lemon sauce. Season expertly with salt and pepper and throw on some Parmesan cheese. Hold your breath.

fusilli with salmon and lemon sauce

They liked it!

The kids ate it. Liked it even.

And now there’s cold salmon leftover for lunch tomorrow.

Oh thank the kitchen gods. I made a supremely simple dish out of season and it turned out.

I celebrated with a glass of wine. Somewhere up there I know Babs is rolling her eyes….


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