I’ve been on a long hiatus, but like the salmon, I always come back. The past year has been an amazing. I went from one person to two and back to one. I had all of my priorities reorganized and got a crash course in babies. My son is now 4 1/2 months old. I keep staring at him, still a bit in unbelief that he’s actually here. He grins back at me, and I feel like maybe I am getting the hang of this mom thing, at least for this moment.
As he’s gotten older and slightly more independent, I’m able to turn for a few moments a day back to my old pursuits. Kitchen Kung Fu is going to be getting a make over and a new direction soon, but rest assured I will still be bringing you my usual KKF recipes, recipe hacks, recipe spin offs and an extra 20% snark at no additional charge.
It’s salmon season! The time of year when the fishermen (and women) are back from the waters and ready to sell their salmon to their excited customers. I purchased some sockeye salmon and smoked pink salmon this year from Lummi Island Wild Salmon. This is the second time I’ve purchased from them and will be getting some halibut from them some time soon which I’m totally jazzed about.
The first dish I prepared was a salmon with saffron sauce. How I love saffron, and appreciate all the hard work that goes into harvesting it. It’s aromatic goodness is like nothing else, and pairs so wonderfully with salmon…
KKF Saffron Salmon with Penne
8 oz sockeye salmon filet
8 oz penne pasta
3 T butter (for frying)
1/4 c of butter
4 T flour
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 c whole milk
1 c frozen peas
1 medium bell pepper, sliced
1/2 t ground coriander
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper to taste
Put saffron threads into a coffee mug and cover with about a quarter cup of very hot water. Set aside to steep.
Boil your water for the pasta and add a tablespoon or so of oil. This will keep the pasta from sticking together. Cook according to package directions, about 11 minutes for al dente.
Melt the three tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, put salmon filet skin side up and fry for about three minutes, then flip and fry for another three minutes or so. We want it to still be nice and bright pink in the center. Set aside and cover with foil for five minutes, then shred up the salmon into small chunks. Use your hands. Sample a bit of salmon while you’re at it.
While the salmon is frying, slice up your pepper. As soon as the salmon comes out of the pan, toss the red peppers in and give them a good sear in the leftover butter.
Cook your peas according to package directions and strain well.
Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a small sauce pan. Add the flour tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk vigorously. Let it get nice and bubbly to cook the flour but keep it moving so it doesn’t burn. Pour in the saffron and water, continuing to whisk, then slowly add the milk, whisking each bit in completely before adding more. (More milk for a thinner sauce, less milk for a thicker sauce according to your preference.) Whisk in the coriander and salt and pepper to taste.
When the sauce is thickened to your liking, combine the sauce, penne, salmon chunks and strained peas. Top with the red bell peppers.
I recommend a buttery chardonnay to go with this. Here’s a wine that lives up to it’s name…Butter Chardonnay from Jam Cellars. Enjoy!