Salmon Linguine with a Lemon Cream Sauce

I don’t often cook with double cream, but when I had a large pot leftover from a recent over-catered garden party, I knew I had to find some uses for it. I’d rather the guilt of a few extra calories than the guilt of food waste.

Anyway, my philosophy on cooking with cream is it absolutely must be worth the calories. A disappointing but calorie-laden pasta is a disappointment that lingers. I wouldn’t do that to you.

This pasta rendered me borderline speechless it was so good. Creamy, lemony, and the flavours delivered right to the end of the meal. Even better, it’s incredibly easy to make!

Chill a bottle of Chardonnay in advance. You’re going to need it.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 x 130g salmon fillets

1/4 cup dry white wine

Salt and pepper

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan (I like a microplane for this, but the fine side of a box grater will work, too)

1/4 cup double cream

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

225g linguine

Small handful of parsley, leaves stripped and chopped

Method:

Put a large pot of water on to boil. (I find unsalted water comes to the boil faster, so leave out the salt for now.) Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C / 175C Fan.

Line a small baking dish with tin foil. Place the salmon fillets in, skin-side down. Pour over the white wine, then season the fish generously with salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with tin foil. (You’re basically poaching it in the oven.) Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, depending on thickness. You want the salmon just cooked – even a little undercooked. It will finish cooking at the end.

Tip: If you don’t have a baking dish small enough, place a large piece of tin foil in your smallest baking dish and fold it over into a packet, crimping the edges to seal.

While the salmon is poaching, put the pasta on to boil. Start by salting the boiling water very generously, then add the pasta and give it a good swirl in the hot water. Bring back to the boil and keep stirring now and again.

While the pasta is boiling and the fish is poaching, make the lemon sauce. To a bowl, add the egg yolk, parmesan, double cream, lemon zest and juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.

When the salmon has had its time, remove from the oven and use a fork to flake roughly. Discard the skin. Don’t be alarmed if the fish seems undercooked at this stage – it will be fully cooked by the time you eat. Cover the flaked salmon with the foil lid to keep warm while the pasta finishes cooking.

When the pasta has cooked to al dente, use a mug to reserve half a cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot, making sure the heat is off. Add a slosh of the pasta water (1/4 cup or so) then add the egg, parmesan and cream mixture and stir quickly to combine. At this stage it might seem a little wet, but it will quickly thicken. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the flaked salmon to the pasta, leaving most of the poaching wine behind. Grate in some more pepper, sprinkle in half the chopped parsley and give everything a final stir.

Transfer to waiting bowls, then add a final grating of pepper and sprinkle over the remaining parsley. Serve immediately. Don’t forget the Chardonnay.

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