There is nothing more satisfying in the hot months than a pasta dish with the freshness of the garden as well as the sea. Spaghetti with Salmon, Baby Artichokes and Tomatoes is one of those dishes. You know – Your mind says pasta, but at the same time you wonder if it might be a heavy choice for the weather. No problem here. This dish is light, fresh, healthy, and gives you that “pasta fix” at the same time.
The garden gnomes and gnomesses were looking after us this year. Fresh tomatoes have been abundant and sweet. And OH THE HERBS!!! They all set the stage for a perfect storm of pasta ingredients just waiting for the proper attention. It was right around the time that my fresh garden tomatoes were over populating my kitchen windows that I thought, “It’s pasta time”. I need a fresh light pasta dish, and I need it now. It was also the evening before my husband, “the mad cyclist”, departed for one of his more difficult rides and was craving carbs.
Fishing for the right stuff: I happened to be doing one of my “wandering aimlessly through Whole Foods” routines, when I came upon a one-day sale on fresh wild caught Alaskan salmon, all bright red and glistening. Oh baby, come to Mama! I had just picked up a box of fresh baby artichokes that the produce manager, you have all come to know as “Bucko”, ordered just to keep me from making another scene among the veggies. He humors me. Joy of joys!! I had my pasta dish, and I was thinkin’ PATIO!
As it came together, the interesting thing about my Spaghetti with Salmon, Baby Artichokes and Tomatoes was the preparation of the salmon. Instead of just grilling it, I decided instead to use a cedar grilling plank which I thought would offer a smoky essence and another level to the mounting flavors in this fresh dish. This turned out to be the right choice!
Walking the plank: For those who haven’t tried it, grilling your fish on a cedar plank takes it to another dimension. The smoky flavor is reminiscent of any great smoked salmon you have ever tried, and you can produce it quickly and easily on your own grill. When combining it with your pasta, it changes the character of the dish completely by giving just a light hint of sweet smoke.
The How to: You can find wood planks and specifically cedar, which I love with salmon, at your grocer these days. They are not expensive. Generally speaking, this is how to use them. A couple of hours before grilling the salmon, soak the plank in water to cover. It needs to be soaked well to help prevent burning. When you are ready to grill place the plank on the grill and close the cover. When it starts to smoke, place your seasoned salmon on the plank and close the cover again. The time depends on the thickness of your salmon, but I would say that it should take about 6 to 8 minutes to cook. You should check it after 6 minutes. I do not like my salmon dry and over cooked. I like it a little red and moist in the middle so it melts in your mouth.
Fresh is best: For tomatoes and artichokes – the best way to go for this dish is fresh- definitely for the tomatoes and preferably for the baby artichokes. If you absolutely can’t find fresh baby artichokes – used canned or frozen artichoke hearts – never as wonderful as fresh - but… If using canned, rinse them very well, drain them and cut them in half. For the herbs used in this dish, they should always be fresh.
Think fresh – think healthy! Now you are ready to go!
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SPAGHETTI WITH SALMON, BABY ARTICHOKES, & TOMATOES
Prep: 45 minutes
1 lb. Spaghetti
About 3/4 lb piece of fresh salmon (wild caught Alaskan is great!) – drizzle with a little Olive Oil and sprinkle with Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Cloves Fresh Garlic Chopped
6-8 Ripe Red Fresh Tomatoes – Chopped
or canned or frozen artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and in halves
2 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano leaves
1/4 c. Chopped Fresh Basil
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
Clean and prepare the baby artichokes as in the post linked above. Instead of boiling them for 10 minutes as suggested in the post– boil them 15 minutes for this dish. Drain and set aside. If using canned artichoke hearts, rinse and drain them well and slice them in half.
Season salmon as directed above.
Grill the salmon using a cedar plank. See my instructions for this in the text above the recipe in THE HOW TO section. Do not overcook the salmon – reddish in middle is good. You don’t want it dry.
Heat the 3 Tbsp Olive Oil in a pan and add chopped garlic. Cook a couple of minutes – do not brown.
Add chopped fresh tomatoes and fresh baby artichokes ( or canned artichoke hearts).
Season with Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste. Cook about 5 minutes.
Add fresh herbs and stir.
Make spaghetti according to package directions.
Add the pan ingredients to the spaghetti and toss gently.
Add Kosher Salt and pepper and mix in.
Add grilled salmon broken into pieces to the spaghetti.
You can add more fresh basil if you like.
Drizzle generously with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and serve.
The Finish: As far as a wine pairing with Spaghetti With Salmon, Baby Artichokes and Tomatoes ,I would suggest a Pinot Grigio or even a Trebbiano for white or a Pinot Noir if you prefer red.
PARLA COME MANGI!
Comments are welcome in the “Speak Your Mind Area” beneath this post online.
Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography