Saturday, February 21, 2009

Recipe: Spaghetti with salmon and peas (dinner with limitations)

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Tonight's dinner came together quickly, by necessity. I had been out all afternoon with my 10-year-old son, while Michael was home with two 7-year-old boys (ours plus a friend). The friend, who is one of the dearest boys I know, and whom I adore completely, decided to stay for dinner. Great! However, said friend comes with two gastronomic issues. One, his family keeps kosher, so he eats only kosher meat, which I didn't happen to have. And two, he is highly allergic to eggs.

Now I am quite used to cooking for people with issues and limitations. I can do gluten-free, lactose-free, kosher, vegetarian, vegan even. But for some reason, whenever this kosher-no-egg kid is at our house, I never have any kosher meat, and all I can think to make is grilled cheese or pizza. And they'd had pizza for lunch.

On top of all this, I have not been food shopping for a while because we're trying to whittle down the supplies in our freezers and pantry. So the fresh options were limited.

The canned Alaskan salmon saved me. I buy it in big plastic-bound packages at Costco, eight or 10 cans at a time. Most of the time I use it for lunchbox sandwiches - tuna has too much mercury, and my kids don't mind salmon salad as a substitute. But sandwiches weren't going to cut it tonight. I had to improvise. So here's what I made. Everyone liked it, especially the darling guest boy. One more alternative to grilled cheese!

Spaghetti with salmon and peas

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb frozen peas
  • 3 6-oz cans Alaskan salmon, drained, liquid reserved
Cook spaghetti in salted water according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add shallots and cook 1 minute, until shallots are softened. Add flour and stir for 1 minute. Add milk and whisk until flour is dissolved and there are no lumps. Bring to a simmer; the sauce will start to thicken. Add reserved salmon juices, wine, lemon juice and zest, and salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce a few minutes to blend flavors. Add peas and bring back to a simmer.

Flake the salmon in a large bowl.

When the pasta is al dente, drain and dump into the bowl with the salmon. Pour the cream sauce on top and mix together. Serve immediately.

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