I’m Irish, I live on an island, near the sea. You’d think I would eat more fish than I do but bizarrely, as a nation, we eat far less fish than other European countries and I am no exception to this statistic. I have no idea why we don’t eat more but most Irish people I know wouldn’t consume much fish outside of an occasional trip to the chip shop for a battered smoked cod.
I think fish are perceived as being a difficult thing to prepare at home, it is quite easy to make a delicious fish supper at home, but in my experience, most people don’t. There are a lot of issues surrounding commercial fishing. Overfishing and the subsequent depletion of global fish stocks is nothing new. As long ago as the 1990’s the collapse of North Atlantic Cod stocks led to the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifying what comes out of the deep fat fryer in your local chipper as ‘vulnerable’. We are eating certain species to the brink of extinction!
Then there’s the plastics issue. There is now so much plastic floating around in our oceans that it has made its way into the food chain and microplastics are now showing up in human tissue samples. Governments have been trying to regulate the fishing industry, with mixed results, to try and preserve fish stocks and there does seem to be more of an effort to reduce the amount of waste plastic that makes its way into the environment.
What can we all do? Stop buying plastics wherever possible and make sure you recycle or carefully dispose of what you do end up with. Eat less wild fish and more farmed fish. There are arguments for and against fish farming that you can investigate for yourself. Fish is a healthy and nutritious food and the people of a lot of poorer nations depend on it to stay alive.
Salmon farming is a big industry on my little island and most responsible farmers adhere to a strict set of guidelines laid down by the regulators regarding sustainability and environmental impact. Not only does this provide jobs, but also the main ingredient of today’s recipe.
So, preaching over, let’s make dinner.
As per usual, serves one greedy man, or serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices and feed two, or double or treble it up to feed some friends.
Smoked salmon pasta
- 200 g tagliatelle or pasta of your choice
- 1 tbsp olive oil or other
- 2 garlic cloves finely sliced or minced
- A small shallot (optional)
- 100 mls ish crème fraîche
- 1 lemon rind zested (finely grated) and juiced
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
- 100 g smoked salmon torn into strips
- Frozen peas or other greens to your liking
- Some fresh chives or dill or basil finely chopped (optional)
- Some rocket or other salad leaves (optional)
- Salt and Pepper
If you have made any of my other pasta recipes then you know the drill.
Get a big pot of salted water on the boil, add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or saucepan and add the onion and garlic and gently fry until softened but try not to brown them. Stir in the creme fraiche, parmesan, lemon juice and lemon rind, try to avoid the white pith when you are grating the rind, it is bitter and does not taste good… anywhere.
If you are using frozen peas or other frozen veg, add them here to give them time to heat through. You could maybe use fresh spinach which you could add towards the end. Veg is not essential so don’t worry if you don’t have anything but the addition of something green gives a nice, fresh contrast to the creaminess of the sauce, not to mention being one of your five (or is it fifteen now?) a day.
Simmer gently for a minute or two or until your veg is cooked, if the sauce seems to be getting too thick add a ladle of the water the pasta is cooking in. Drain the pasta and add to the mix, stir it through and season to taste with a little salt and pepper. Add the strips of smoked salmon and your herbs of choice. The salmon doesn’t need to be cooked, just warmed.
Garnish, if you wish, with some lemon rind and the rocket leaves.
Easy, delicious and relatively guilt free!
Smoked Salmon and cream cheese bagel
A classic lunchtime snack you can make with what’s leftover from your Smoked Salmon Pasta. Quick and easy and delicious.
Hardly worth writing a recipe for it but... grab a bagel and cut it in half, lightly toast it, spread very little butter on it and smother with cream cheese, top with strips of cool smoked salmon and squeeze on some lemon juice. A grinding of black pepper and it’s ready. Add some salad leaves or other healthy things if you like. Scoff it down and get on with your day.