Category Archives: Fish

Smoked Salmon Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Spicy Peppers

There are currently only three chickens in our backyard flock: Ducky, Feather, and Feather.  Yes, two Feathers, both black.  I’ll gloss over the details of what happened to the original black Feather, and just tell you that when we got chicks the following spring, my oldest exclaimed in delight: “This time we have two Feathers!”  And so we do.

The Girls (by which, at the moment, I mean the three chickens, not the three little girls who live inside with us; it does get confusing sometimes) usually keep us amply supplied with eggs.  Today we had run out, though, so I was pleased that an afternoon visit to the coop yielded the two eggs I needed to make this recipe.  Taking fresh-laid eggs straight to the table never gets old for me.

This recipe is inspired by the Carbonara with Mama Lil’s Peppers on Michael Natkin’s delightfully-named vegetarian blog Herbivoracious (and check out his new Herbivoracious cookbook as well).  I love Mama Lil’s Peppers and think they’re an inspired addition to pastas, pizzas, antipasto plates, and much more.  (I even gave J a jar of the spicy ones as part of his Fathers Day present.  But use the mild ones for this recipe!)  A vegetarian carbonara is untraditional, of course–usually it gets a hit of smoky salt from bacon–and I departed from Michael’s departure from tradition by adding hot-smoked salmon instead. Continue reading Smoked Salmon Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Spicy Peppers (click for recipe)


Sorta-Caesar Salad

Well, the nice thing about this endless Seattle gloom is that the lettuce isn’t bolting.

When I first moved to Seattle, J and I lived in a tiny house, and one of the first things we did was put in a tiny garden.  We built four raised beds in the grassy strip between the sidewalk and the street.  Everyone does that now, I know, but this was more than a decade ago and I liked to think of us as pioneering urban farmers back then.  (We got chickens too, of course.)

There was just one problem.  I’m from California.  And when I moved to Seattle, I was cold.  I consulted with my local garden store about what kind of vegetables I could grow in this inhospitable climate and planted things like lettuce, arugula, and broccoli.  And then I bundled them up as warm as I could.  I put hoops over the beds and sheathed them in clear plastic, trapping the heat to create toasty little greenhouses for my tender plants.  They thought it was high summer and went happily straight to seed, of course.  Learning that some plants prefer cooler temperatures was the beginning of my education about the benefits that a cool climate has to offer.  (Others include not needing much of a summer wardrobe, only needing an air conditioner a few days each year, and the blueberries.  Oh, the blueberries!)

In any case, delightful lettuces grow in this part of the world nearly year-round.  They are floppy or pert, frilly or reserved, pastel green, deep maroon, or freckled.  They are the stars of the show at springtime farmers markets, and I find them irresistible.  Here’s a nice thing to do with any sturdy, crunchy lettuce.  (Romaine is the classic, of course, as we’re riffing on the Caesar salad here, but it gets much more exciting than that.) Continue reading Sorta-Ceasar Salad (click for recipe)

Smoked Salmon Salade Nicoise

Dinner outside again!  I lived in LA for three years and appreciated the weather every single day.  You can be sure that I’ll also be able to sustain this glee through every single outdoor meal of Seattle’s short summer.  Especially since it’s supposed to go right back to raining this week.

I took the picnic theme one step further by making a big main-dish composed salad, isn’t that summery?  And I was quite pleased to be one-upped in the pretending-its-summer department by our friends who served a rum punch on the deck before dinner.

Continue reading Salade Nicoise (click for recipe)

Smoked Salmon Pizza with Red Peppers, Green Onions, and Feta

Sometimes making a great pizza requires the preparation of many sub-recipes: a sauce, cooked vegetables, a drizzle of reduced vinegar.  This one, though, is fresh and light, a springtime pizza.  And it can be in the oven in minutes.  Start preheating now.

We had some whole wheat pizza dough left over from making this Roasted Broccoli pizza last week.  J and I took a little break from canning jam (more about that tomorrow, but here’s the takeaway: jam-making always takes longer than we think it will, and once we start the kitchen is going to be a hot mess all day, so we might as well add to the chaos by making a good lunch in the middle of it).  It was a teamwork day, so I piled ingredients on the counter and rolled out dough; J curated and composed this lovely pizza.  Voila, lunch. Continue reading Smoked Salmon Pizza with Red Peppers, Green Onions, and Feta (click for recipe)

Green Salad with Smoked Salmon, Tomatoes, and Crème Fraiche-Dill Dressing

J and I meet up with a lovely group of friends every few months for dinner and an evening of playing cards.  I wish I could say that we play an intellectual game, like bridge.  Or a hip game, like poker.  But we don’t.  It’s euchre.  It’s so much fun.

Last night, I lost spectacularly.  But it was still a gold-medal evening, thanks in large part to the excellent company and thanks in small part to the fact that it brought a great new salad into my life.

Our hosts made a delicious potato soup for dinner in observance of St. Patrick’s day, and I came up with this salad to go along it.  It turned out very well, if I do say so myself.  I hardly ever make a creamy salad dressing, but it was a winning combination with the smoked salmon and potato soup.  A little lemon, a little dill, a lot of tiny sweet tomatoes.  Crunch, zing, sweet, salt, smoke.  Are those the food groups or what? Continue reading Green Salad with Smoked Salmon, Tomatoes, and Crème Fraiche-Dill Dressing (click for recipe)

Purple Potato Frittata, with or without Cod

Are you a sweet or savory breakfast person?  I like both.  (Sometimes at the same time.)  But in spite of having a huge sweet tooth, the savory breakfast usually trumps for me.

Either way, you’re covered this weekend.  If you’re a sweet person, you have that French toast to make.  And if savory is your thing, here’s the plan.

Pick some potatoes.  I know I’m being a little preachy here, but let me just gently suggest that if you have never bought a potato from your winter farmers’ market, you should give it a try.  I buy plenty of supermarket produce in addition to supporting my local farmers when I can, but there are a few things that are just so much more flavorful when I buy them from the farmers’ market that they seem like different vegetables.  Potatoes are one of those things.  But I should also say that I am no potato snob.  Potatoes are one of my favorite foods and I always have a 5 lb. bag of grocery store potatoes lurking in the basement just in case.  (Is that weird?)  And I love them.  Just like I love the even more flavorful fancy ones.

I had a bag of purple potatoes.  You can use whatever potatoes you have or choose to acquire.

This is a riff on the Smoky Cauliflower Frittata to the extent that I used the smoked paprika and smoked cheese combo again.  I was using up leftover baked cod, but I think this recipe would also be great if you used a smoked fish instead and left out the paprika.  Or you can leave the fish out altogether, of course.  We roll with a lot of vegetarians, so we made one frittata with the fish and one without.Purple Potato Frittata, with or without Cod: Dice a few potatoes into small cubes and saute in olive oil over medium high heat with a large diced onion until the potato is edibly tender.  Meanwhile, whisk 6 eggs with 1/4 c. Greek yogurt, 2 tsp. smoked paprika and salt and pepper.  Mix two handfuls of smoked cheese and one of sharp cheddar into the eggs, along with the cooked potato and onion mixture.  Flake some cooked or smoked fish into the bowl if you’re using it.  Mix gently to combine everything.  Heat a little more oil in the same pan you used to cook the potatoes, then pour in the egg mixture and cook about 5 minutes over medium heat until the edges are set.  Scatter one last handful of cheese on top of the eggs.  Transfer to the oven and bake at 375 for another 10-12 minutes, until nearly set, then turn on the broiler for a carefully attended minute or two to brown the top.  Serve with toast and fruit for breakfast, or with a salad for any other meal.

Smoked Salmon Frittata with Spinach and Herbed Cream Cheese

Here in Seattle, when we say “smoked salmon” we aren’t talking about cold-smoked lox-style salmon. Instead it’s hot-smoked, flaky, a bit drier, and by far my preferred style of smoked salmon. Here’s a nice way to feature it for breakfast.

We smoke our own salmon in the backyard in summertime, but it’s available in the store year round. Try to find a piece if you haven’t tried it, because it’s great. But if it’s not readily available and you do have lox, make it easy on yourself, use that. The frittata will be different but still great.

And let’s be honest: the fish adds smoke and salt, but the real star here is the oniony, herbaceous, melting cream cheese. Even if you don’t make this frittata, you might want to keep a little jar of it in the fridge for smearing on your toast. And—this is a lot of talk about NOT making this frittata for a post dedicated to encouraging you to make this frittata, isn’t it?—you can make an even faster dish by simply stirring flaked or chopped smoked salmon and the herbed cream cheese into a pan of nearly-set scrambled eggs.

Smoked Salmon Frittata with Spinach and Herbed Cream Cheese: First make a bowl of herbed cream cheese by mashing some cream cheese with a pinch of salt and a ton of chopped herbs (I used green onions, chives, parsley, dill, oregano, and thyme, probably about 1 c. loosely packed chopped herbs for 4 oz. cream cheese). Set aside. Sauté an onion until translucent and then stir in a few big handfuls of just-washed chopped or baby spinach until the spinach wilts and any moisture evaporates. Meanwhile, beat 6 eggs with salt, pepper, and ¼ c. crème fraiche or plain yogurt. Flake a piece of smoked salmon into the eggs, then add the onion and spinach and mix well. Wipe out the pan you used for the onions, add a little olive oil, and heat the pan over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, until the edges are set. Dollop herbed cream cheese (as much as you want) on top of the eggs. Move to the oven and bake at 375 for about 10 more minutes, until the eggs are set.