Long time no speak… sorry about that. It’s been a busy few months, but we’re back on the blog now and bringing you fresh easy recipes using the ace produce we have at the deli. We have the most amazing suppliers with wonderful produce, which really makes you look good whatever standard of cook you are. This recipe is pretty difficult to mess up and is a great family sharing plate of pasta – easy enough for a midweek supper, and the leftovers make a pretty special pasta salad for your lunchbox the next day, or as one of those pesky meat free sides at a barbecue to eat while the designated macho man/woman on the grill is messing around with trying to light the charcoal. Everything in this recipe is available from The De Beauvoir Deli (apart from the dill, which was from my garden, and the peas, which were from my freezer)..
Fusilli Bucati with hot smoked salmon, asparagus, spinach, peas, crème fraiche, and dill.
Serves 4, very comfortably.
500g Michele Portoghese Fusilli Bucati
2x Pinney’s of Orford Hot Smoked Salmon Fillets
1 bunch Isle of White Asparagus
1 bag Chegworth Valley Naturally Grown Spinach
1 small tub of Neal’s Yard Dairy Crème Fraiche
1 large shallot – finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic - crushed
2 handfuls of frozen peas – fresh would be great here to, but I didn’t have them, and I’m a big fan of frozen peas.
1 handful of dill – coarsely chopped, just the fronds for this one
Yare Valley Cold Pressed Rapeseed oil
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and black pepper to taste
Let’s get prepped. A la a certain well-known chef, you can do this all in 15 minutes, if you have everything ready to go. Boil the kettle, get the grill heating up, and get a large saucepan on a medium heat. Have a big pot ready for cooking the pasta – you’ll need about 3L of water so might need the kettle on twice. If you’re feeling brave, you can do everything else in the time it takes the pasta to cook. If not, the sauce will hold and heat up again nicely. Let’s imagine we’re brave.
Get your water boiling – proper boiling, not just simmering. Put in a big handful of salt, and let it come back up to the rolling boil. Put the pasta in and give it a stir. That’ll be done in 10 minutes or so (read what it says on the packet, then take off a couple of minutes).
Leave the asparagus whole in the bunch – rubber band and all – and dunk it into the pasta water for 1 minute. Fish it out and leave it to one side. No need to refresh it. Put a glug of oil into your saucepan and then straight in with the shallot and garlic. Let them soften but not brown. Rinse your spinach to remove any unwanted mud, and straight into the saucepan. Give everything a stir, then on with the lid. The residual water from the rinse should be enough to get some steam going. If not, add a little of the pasta cooking water. This should take a minute or two – plenty of time to get your hot smoked salmon under the grill – skin side up as you’ll be discarding this later and it will work as a good protector of the flesh underneath.
Throw the frozen peas into the saucepan, and give them a minute to unfreeze. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Check your pasta at this stage, just in case you’ve taken a bit longer than planned. If so, drain it and reserve a bit of the pasta water, in case the sauce needs it.
Trim the woody ends off your asparagus and cut in half, leaving you with a spear, and a bit that looks like a fat green bean. Slice the ‘green bean’ end and stir into the sauce. Leave the spears for later. Turn the heat down on the saucepan, add the lemon juice, crème fraiche, and half the dill. Season to taste. Remember that the salmon will be slightly salty, so bear that in mind – you can always add etc. Speaking of the salmon, time to rescue it from the grill. The skin will most probably be black – but it’s going in the bin, so don’t worry. Leave it to one side as it’ll be too hot to handle.
Even if you’ve been speedy, the pasta will need draining now. Drain it quickly and straight into the sauce. We want that little bit of residual pasta water – it will bring the sauce together. Give everything a stir together, add the asparagus spears, put a lid on the pan and take it off the hob. There’s plenty of heat there to keep everything warm.
Now remove the skin and any brown bits from the underside of the salmon and flake into big chunks. Pour the pasta onto a big serving plate, top with the flaked salmon and the rest of the dill. Take a better photo than I did, and then tuck in with a crisp white. I went for a Picpoul de Pinet, handily also available at the De Beauvoir Deli.