Archived entries for salmon

A Little Zing: Creamy Lemon Spaghetti with Salmon

This dish is a little bit comfort food and a little bit for-adults-only. It’s creamy and rich but also unmistakably bright and fresh. It’s a good one to have in your back pocket for a quick weeknight dinner, especially come winter when we aren’t drowning in gorgeous produce.

I know, we’re supposed to be eating raw tomatoes out of hand, ’tis the season to be all-zucchini-all-the-time, (if you’re drowning in zukes, try this or this.) But sometimes you can’t argue with a craving.

This pasta is a spin on spaghetti al limone, zippy with lemon juice and zest, calmed with a scoop of creme fraiche (I love the Ronnybrook stuff), and elevated a bit with a few ribbons of moist, thinly-sliced smoked salmon. The salmon shouldn’t cook; just toss it in with the hot pasta to warm through. You could add some capers for a true near-bagel experience.

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Ol’ Smokey: Sugar and spice crusted salmon.

Disclaimer: we here at Pithy and Cleaver do not condone unplugging your smoke detector. However, if you ever decide you really WANT to live on the edge and shut it down, this is probably the recipe to cook while it’s offline. Because I’m not gonna lie: this dish is smoky. Like, really smoky. But it is so good, so quick, and so unexpected, that I can tell you with absolute certainty that it is worth it.


The recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat, and it’s so simple that it doesn’t even get a real recipe–just a few descriptive sentences at the bottom of a page near the end of the book. Basically, make a spice rub. Dredge your salmon in it. Sear it in turboheated oil for two minutes on each side, and enjoy. Enjoy the melting, rare flesh inside, and the smoky, sweet, spicy crust that builds up on the outside. Enjoy it with a nice salad and your best friend. Enjoy it on those nights when you are desperate for delicious food but have no more than ten minutes to devote to creating it.

And for the love of all things holy, enjoy it with the windows open.

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My One and Only: Salmon with Soy-Honey and Wasabi Sauces

There are plenty of foods I’ll experiment with. I’ll tinker with tomato sauce, I’ll riff on risotto. But for me, no salmon recipe can unseat this one as my favorite. (I’ll admit, I haven’t yet tried Shiv’s Seduction Salmon with Honey Mustard.)

Before we moved to Oregon and became flannel-wearing Northwesterners, I don’t remember eating much salmon. As soon as we got settled, though, my mother was grilling it up (in the rain) with the best of them.

This recipe, for me, is the taste of home. It reminds me of my parents’ dinner parties, during which our little dachshund would attempt to steal a napkin from some unsuspecting guest’s lap and shred it to bits. (And then eat it, which was a pretty bad idea.) The salmon was served with a big salad and crusty loaves of bread, sometimes a dish of couscous with raisins alongside. Giant, thick filets of fish were consumed—even those who didn’t plan to take seconds always did. It’s hard to keep from licking up any remaining sweet soy-honey sauce from the plate. Whenever Matt and I travel west to see my folks, this is the dinner we request.

My mom has actually moved on to a new recipe, and that’s fine, but this is the one for me. If you have a grill, you can cook the fish quickly outside, but if you only have a broiler, that works just as well. It isn’t too smelly, I promise. Just be sure to leave it quite rare, like true Northwesterners do.

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