Monday, May 3, 2010

Herbed salmon with tomato and swiss chard spaghetti

Friends, it's that time. The garden is maturing at approximately the speed of light and Swiss chard season is in full effect (see also: lettuce). So yes, the beauties in this meal were birthed right here in my garden. I didn't even know Swiss chard existed until a couple of years ago when I received some in my farm share and stumbled upon this Giada De Laurentiis recipe. It's got olives! And pine nuts! It's perfect!!

The salmon is very simple, just lightly herbed with fresh dill from the garden. Chervil would be good, marjoram, parsley, whatever you have. Even just lemon. Mmm. Or orange. Mmm.

This is a really good side, another of those excellent two-for-one veggie and starch combos. I've made it with spinach, but the tougher texture of chard is superior in this application. Giada actually calls for canned diced tomatoes but it's a great recipe to get rid of extra fresh ones, too, which is exactly why this is on my menu tonight. If I were using larger tomatoes I'd peel them first (cut a little "x" into the bottoms, drop into boiling water for a minute, then into ice water for a minute and they peel easily).

And, because they're pretty, a picture of olives. Oh, you.

~ 4 oz dried pasta, I like to use angel hair
half a small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, or whatever tomatoes you have
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough center rib removed if necessary and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, microplaned (or Pecorino, Romano, whatever)
1 tbsp pine nuts, dry toasted

2 fillets salmon
few sprigs fresh dill
1 lemon

Set a pot of water to boil for your spaghetti and cook it according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

Rinse and pat dry your salmon, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. Press a sprig or two of dill onto the top of each fillet.

Meanwhile, saute your onion in a little olive oil until soft and translucent, 5 or 6 minutes. Add the garlic for another minute, then your tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Give it all a good large pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, salt and tomatoes are best friends. Smash them up as they start to blister.

While your tomatoes are breaking down, saute the salmon dill side down in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil for about 3 minutes, then flip and cook another 2 minutes or so, til just medium and flaky.

Once your tomatoes have broken down, add the white wine and chard and toss. After a minute your chard will soften but still be intensely green, which is where you want it - if you overcook it, it will become one big clump. Stir in your olives, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and cooked spaghetti. Toss toss toss (your tongs are ideal for this). Plate up a mound of spaghetti, lay your salmon next door and give it a good squeeze of lemon.

Serves 2, takes about half an hour.

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