Because Valentine’s day is just around the corner I decided to make a delicious and quick dish that you can make to celebrate whether it be with friends or your other half. Even if you’re watching this after Valentine’s day believe me when I say you’ll love it anyways. This recipe of salmon pasta with fried capers is really tasty, quick to make and perfect for two.
I love salmon and fish in general but I feel like it happens way too often that people don’t know how to cook it properly. Fish is a protein that requires very little cooking time and it’s awful when cooked more than necessary. Pay attention to the instructions on how to cook the salmon so that it doesn’t happen to you :). As a matter of fact. I love my salmon “mi-cuit” which means cooked halfway through, with a bit of pink still remaining on the inside. For this salmon pasta, you definitely want to cook it like that. When we add it to the sauce it finishes cooking through.
Fried capers are an obsession of mine and have been for a while now because they are deliciously crispy. You have to be careful to really pat dry them with kitchen paper before frying. You also want to cover the pan with a lid as soon as you add them to the pan. It will splatter at the beginning. Once you taste them, I promise you’ll be addicted to them. They’re also great on salads or even on their own as a snack. They’re absolutely perfect on this salmon pasta.
Let’s talk about pasta options
For this salmon pasta recipe, I prefer short pasta rather than long. Since it has bits in it like the salmon and fried capers, you will miss out on them with long pasta. Therefore, a short pasta such as the penne I used for this recipe is perfect. You can choose de shape you prefer or according to what you have in your pantry.
For the fried capers
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 50 g capers
For the salmon pasta
- 130 g pasta I used penne
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100 g salmon without skin
- 2 cloves garlic minced or finely grated
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp all purpose flour
- 1 lemon zest only
- 100 ml vino blanco
- 200 ml whipping cream
- 30 g parmesan cheese I used Grana Padano + more to serve
- 10 basil leaves chopped
- to taste salt, pepper and chili flakes
For the fried capers
- Discard the liquid that the capers come in and place them on a bowl with kitchen paper. Let them release excess liquid for 5min, then pat dry with more paper.
- Place olive oil in a preheated pan at medium-high heat. Add the capers and put a lid on them immediately because they will start to sizzle.
- Move the pan every once in a while until you feel that they have become crispy. The time will vary depending on how well you dried them.
- Once ready transfer them to a bowl with kitchen paper to remove the excess oil. Reserve until serving time.
For the salmon pasta
- Preheat a pan at medium-high heat.
- Add the butter and olive oil (olive oil prevents the butter from burning) and use them to sear the salmon on both sides. When you put the salmon on the pan you will see the colour of the meat progressively change as it cooks. You want to cook it 3/4 of the way on one side and then flip it and cook it for a minute on the other side. Remember not to move the fish around in the pan so it can become golden. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the salmon from the pan and lower the heat to medium-low.
- (At this point it's a good idea to start cooking the pasta. The pasta is cooked in water with plenty of salt until it's al dente. The time varies between 7-10min depending on the pasta. If your pasta is ready before the sauce you can mix it with olive oil so it doesn't stick to each other. Reserve about 1/2 a cup of the pasta water in case you need it)
- Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook them for a minute stirring constantly.
- Add the Dijon mustard and mix.
- Add the white wine and let it evaporate almost completely while stirring constantly.
- Add the flour and stir it in.
- Add the cream to the sauce little by little off the heat while stirring constantly. Return to the heat until it starts to boil.
- Break the salmon with your hands in flakes. Add half of it to the sauce and mix it in.
- Add the parmesan cheese and stir to melt it in. Taste the sauce and correct the level of salt and add pepper as well as half the basil.
- Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce and mix in to impregnate the flavours. Add pasta water to adjust the texture if it's too thick.
- Serve immediately and finish it with extra salmon on top, fried capers, sliced basil and chili flakes.