3 November 2006

Tagliatelle with Salmon Sauce

Tonight is the Guy Fawkes celebration in our village. As new villagers last year, we went at the announced hour and ended up standing in a very muddy field for two and a half hours. Nice, but too wet and cold. So this year we only went for the actual fireworks. Perfect, half an hour's walk after dinner, 15 minutes of a nicely composed professional fireworks display and 15 minutes walk back home again.

It's Friday and because the working week is over, I like to make a special dinner, make things a bit more festive. Sadly, the organisers of the bonfire night celebration have missed a vital point in timing. We are within the commuter belt. A lot of people work in London and don't really come home until after 7 pm, so beginning the celebration with a procession with torches at that point, means a lot of people rushing home to make it. Lundulph usually comes home around this time, and is also usually starving. I can imagine others are the same. Yes, of course you could wait a bit with dinner, but this is November, and the first frost is here, so personally I wouldn't be in a good mood if I had to delay dinner and go and get cold watching the fireworks. On the other hand I don't want to miss it. So I think the event should start a little bit later and get people a chance to get home, get some food and change clothes and shoes and catch their breath before venturing out in the muddy field.

Enough ranting.

So I did a quickie tonight.

250 g tagliatelle


20 g lightly salted butter
2 tbsp grape seed oil
2 small onions
1 can of whole button mushrooms (400 g/230 g)
3 tbsp plain flour or sauce flour
5 dl milk (I used semi-skimmed)
1 can of sweetcorn (300 g/285 g)
225 g smoked salmon in thin slices
salt, black pepper and dill

Watercress or wild rocket for decoration.
  1. Cook the tagliatelle as per instructions on the packet. Hot tip, try not to coincide the putting of the pasta in the boiling water at the point when you need to add liquid to the sauce, unless you have a helper, two hands are just not enough.
  2. Peel and coarseley chop the onions.
  3. Melt the butter and oil.
  4. Pour out the liquid from the cans, but don't throw it away.
  5. Fry the onions and when they start going translucent, add the mushrooms and keep stirring until they get a bit of colour.
  6. Add the flour and stir vigorously to soak up the fat.
  7. Slowly add the liquid from the cans and keep stirring it in.
  8. Then continue with adding the milk, little by little. If the sauce seems too thick, add more milk.
  9. Leave to simmer for 6-7 minutes, then add the sweetcorn and stir in well.
  10. Add the salmon slices and stir for 4-5 minutes. Once the salmon has cooked, it'll start coming apart into small pieces.
  11. Season with salt, black pepper and dill to taste. Remember that smoked salmon tends to be quite salty, so careful with the salt. Leave to simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  12. Serve the tagliatelle with the sauce and watercress or wild rocket on top.
I think the amount of the tagliatelle would have been enough for three people and the sauce for a lot more. All in the fridge now.

How this came about:
I'd spotted packets of thinly sliced square salmon slices - for sandwiches. Odd, but it was on offer, so I bought it. Tasted like any other smoked salmon, great for decorating, not sure if I want to put it on a sandwich, though.

Today I went to Lidl. This shopping chain is brilliant. They do lots of German food, not a complete selection, but mainly biscuits and a few other bits and bobs. I got the panettone from there for the bread and butter pudding. No other shop had any. This time, they had salmon flavoured tagliatelle and I just couldn't resist. Though I couldn't really notice the flavour. Still, a but of novelty.

Lundulph also recommends fresh baby leaf spinach to stir in just before serving. This will keep the leaves still crunchy, but will give out some flavour into the sauce.

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