Giving that Birmingham is landlocked, generally we don't eat a lot of fish. That's why I like to branch out a little and found this little gem. The penne pasta with smoked salmon is the best of all worlds that gives you the texture of the pasta, the flavor of the salmon, earthiness of asparagus and the creamy texture of the dill and thyme cream cheese that compliments the strong flavor of the salmon. We hope you enjoy this one as much as we did.
1/4 lb whole wheat penne pasta
4 oz of asparagus
3 1/2 oz smoked salmon
3/4 oz of cream cheese
.75 sprigs of thyme
.12 sprigs of dill
tools: lemon juicer, large sauce pan, knife, cutting board, zester, frying pan, cooking spoon, pasta thongs, sieve
1|step - mis en place
while working in a restaurant last year I learned that the first step in ever cooking a meal is the french term "mis en place". The term translates into English as "to put in place". This is the prep work that you'll see chef's doing throughout the day. Cooking, even at home, is very temperamental and time is always of the essence. Make sure to do your measuring before you ever turn on the heat and to have all the ingredients for your dish at your fingertips. Some dishes even benefit from doing some light cooking ahead of time.
- measure your salt and pepper
- cut your dill and thyme finely
- zest your lemon
- press your lemon juice
- spoon your cream cheese (leave out on your counter to let the cream come to room temp)
- measure out your pasta
- and place out your salmon
- cut your asparagus - cut at an angle for a better presentation
- combine 1/4 portion chopped thyme, dill with cream cheese (the best way is with your hands!)
2|step - prepping the pasta
boil about a cup to a cup and a half of pasta for a single serving of this dish. Turn the heat on high with a pot and some water. Generously salt the water. Boil for 10 minutes or until al dente
3|step - cook your asparagus
heat a skillet with olive oil over medium to medium low heat (pending on your type of cooktop). Pure olive oil burns slower than virgin which gives you less smoke in the kitchen and a better cooking result. There are specific calls for virgin olive oil but this recipe calls for the pure kind. Cook on a low to medium low heat for about 10 min.
4|step - season your asparagus
while cooking add 2/3 of your lemon juice and zest.
5|step - adding the pasta
now add your cooked pasta along with the thyme and dill and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients together for about 2 minutes.
6|step - plate your dish
viola! you're ready to plate. Use your pasta thongs to carefully place your pasta and asparagus on the base of the serving bowl. Then zest with a little bit of lemon. Now artfully place your salmon, cream cheese and garnish with a sprig of dill. Now you're finished!