Saturday, January 9, 2010

Smoked Salmon

Tonight we had a few folks in for drinks before dinner, neighbours, and as usual, we plied them with Smoked Salmon. Isn't that decadent!
But we live in British Columbia, and my husband the Friulano long ago mastered the art of smoking salmon. He is self-taught, and I've never tasted better.
I well remember the first time I saw Smoked Salmon in a shop window in Lignano, on the beautiful Adriatic coast close to his home, and was absolutely shocked at the exhorbitant price. It was then that I really began to appreciate what I had access to here.
When our son was married my brother and sister-in-law came from Italy for the big event, and I'll never forget the look on Claudia's face when she saw the store of smoked salmon we had on hand. Immediately she set to work and made the most delicious, the most divine, sauce for pasta, one which we have made for each other countless times since.
It is easy, it is foolproof, and you've never tasted anything so good. We take frozen fillets of smoked salmon with us whenever we go "back home" so that they can all make the sauce as well.
You can actually make it in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta. We like Spaghettini, but you can use whatever you like.
Put the water on to boil and salt it well. They say it should be as salty as sea water.
Smoked Salmon Sauce
Pour a small carton of whipping cream into a saucepan.
Warm it gently, then add a little squished tomato from a tin of Italian peeled tomatoes and a little juice. This is primarily for the colour.
Thinly slice and then cut again once or twice the smoked salmon. As much as you like.
Stir it into the warm cream and mush it up with a wooden spoon.
Simmer gently until it reduces a bit.
That's it. You don't need to add salt.
Put the drained pasta into the sauce and mix it well, or put the sauce into the pot which contains the drained pasta. Mix well.

There are those purists who say that one should never put cheese on any fish sauce, but Adriana always did, and so do we. Do it if you like it.
Claudia puts a good handful of grated Parmesano or Montasio into the sauce and gives it a good stir before mixing it with the pasta. It thickens the sauce. Then she tops each bowl with more sauce and more cheese.

It drives me crazy when I see chefs on the Food network putting the cooked drained pasta in a bowl and then putting a puddle of sauce on top. I've never seen that in Italy or in any Italian home. The sauce must be mixed with the pasta before it is served in order that the flavours blend, and a bowl of extra sauce is often put out as well to top the individual servings.
I love watching and reading the recipes of Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, she does it right! Look her up. Incidentally, she has vineyards in Friuli and often lauds it for its beautiful cheeses, meats and wines.

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