Mediterranean Salmon Cold Pasta
|Ingredient||For Two||For Two|
|sardines in olive oil||1¾ oz.||50g|
|lox (smoked salmon)||1¾ oz.||50g|
|fresh dill||7-8 sprigs||7-8 sprigs|
|capers||3-4 Tbsp.||3-4 Tbsp.|
|red cherry tomatoes||about ½ cup||about ½ cup|
|fresh garlic||1-2 cloves||1-2 cloves|
|olive oil||3 Tbsp.||3 Tbsp.|
|salt||to taste||to taste|
|pepper||to taste||to taste|
This Mediterranean-style chilled pasta dish is a complex symphony of flavors; a burst of bright lemon juice and fresh tomatoes, rich lox, salty capers, pungent dill, and an undercurrent of fishy sardine, all bound together by the requisite olive oil. The chilled pasta and lively flavors make for a wonderfully refreshing meal on summer days. The original idea came from a friend; it’s her family’s favorite meal during hot Australian summers. I added sardines to boost the flavor.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and set aside for topping.
- Chop the lox into small (¼" / 5mm) pieces.
- Cut off any thick stems from the dill sprigs and chop into 1" (2cm) pieces. Save a copule of nice looking tufts from the end of the sprig for garnish.
- Ready a large bowl of ice and water, with enough room to accomodate the cooked pasta without overflowing, just before cooking pasta.
- Fry garlic and sardines.
Smash the garlic cloves and fry in a pan with the olive oil over medium-low heat until fragrant, being careful not to burn it. I leave the chunks of garlic in, but you can remove from the oil and discard if you prefer. Add sardines and the oil they’re packed in to the garlic oil in the pan and break it up with your stirring tool while heating. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat. Transfer mixture of fish and oil to a large bowl and put in the refrigerator to cool.
- Cook capellini.
Boil the capellini in salted water until cooked all the way through, with no stiff part left in the center of the pasta–do not cook it al dente. Drain and immediately transfer the hot pasta to the bowl of ice and water and swish around until fully chilled. Pick the pasta up with your fingers and transfer it to a strainer to drain thoroughly; this will get the water off and remove any remaining chunks of ice.
- Toss ingredients together.
Toss together the cold pasta, chilled oil-sardine sauce, chopped dill, chopped smoked salmon, and capers. Check the flavor, and if necessary add salt and pepper to taste.
- Plate and serve.
Transfer the pasta to plates, top with the halved cherry tomatoes, and garnish with a small sprig of reserved dill. Serve with slices of fresh lemon and squeeze the juice over the top when you’re ready to eat.
- When cooking the pasta, use about 2 liters (a half gallon) of water and 1 Tbsp. salt per 200g (7 oz.) of dry pasta. While most recipes would have you cook pasta to al dente (slightly undercooked in the center of the noodle), this particular one requires fully-cooked pasta, instead relying on the step of rapidly chilling the pasta in ice water to firm up the texture.
- While any type of canned sardines will work, I recommend Crown Prince brand Mediterranean-style; they come packed in olive oil and nicely-seasoned. The recipe is designed to use half of a 3.75oz (106g) can, including the flavorful oil and any seasonings in it.