Wine Poached Salmon, Peas, Bow Tie Pasta in White Sauce
As older homes go, their kitchens sometimes seem awkwardly designed. My family lived in one of these type homes in Philadelphia for a few years when I began high school.
Just around the corner from our bar/restaurant and next door deli, the kitchen space in this home was a small box shape hosting a lined wall of cabinets with a window over the sink that looked right onto the bricks of the next door row house. Most curious about this kitchen was though it could barely fit a table to accommodate our family, forcing us to mostly share meals in the dining room just steps away, its opposite doorway led into a rectangular room. No one was ever quite certain on the purpose of this area surrounded by tall windows all around. Though often referred to as a pantry, it seemed better suited to a long table and chairs with the exception that its narrow size would prove difficult for five children, or anyone’s family in the neighborhood, who for the most part, had a minimum of that many youngsters in homes at the time, to maneuver in and out of that space on a daily basis.
Some years later, I would recollect that old kitchen of past upon visiting a friend whose daughter and mine became friendly in nursery school. A scientist by profession, Linda was quite a good cook, always preparing interesting meals, possessing just a natural knack for proper preparation and fresh ingredient combinations, even despite managing the awkward small box shaped kitchen with some odd adjoining area. The layout caused an inconvenient flow throughout the entire culinary process and in between chatting, especially perplexing for a rather large home that surely might have formerly been considered grand of sorts.
One time in particular I arrived for the luncheon get-together with our daughters and Linda was preparing bow tie pasta. Bow tie pasta at the time was unheard of except upon menus at a limited number of restaurants. One could purchase a one pound bag of this expensive, imported specialty pasta only through an hour long journey to one of the limited ‘gourmet’ shops of the era.
Many years have long gone by since those luncheons shared between Linda and our daughters in nursery school. But today, while preparing Wine Poached Salmon, Peas, Bow Tie Pasta in White Sauce, I look fondly on those memories, remembering how it was not only Linda’s scientific knowledge, her knack in the perfect preparation of foods, her gift for naturally combining flavorful dishes between fresh ingredients while maneuvering a box shaped kitchen with an oddly adjoining space, that I so greatly admired.
- 1 16 ounce box Farfelle (bow tie pasta)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas
- 1 3/4 cup sour cream
- 4 ounce stick butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tablespoon whiskey
- 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, separated into 3/4 and 1/4 cups
- coarse kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- For the salmon:
- 3/4 pound salmon, cut into thin 1-2 inch long strips
- 1 cup white wine
- cold water
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 6-10 whole black peppercorns
- 2-3 bay leaves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Tumble frozen peas in a bowl large enough to toss the cooked pasta with the sauce, set aside
- Set salmon strips into a shallow glass dish, pour over the white wine then add just enough cold water to barely cover salmon
- Spread onion slices on top
- Scatter over the peppercorns and bay leaves
- Cover salmon with aluminum foil, set onto a parchment lined baking sheet
- Bake salmon for twenty minutes, until just done, discard liquid, remove the onion, bay leaves and peppercorns, transfer salmon to a plate
- Let cool to touch then break salmon into small bite size pieces
- Cook bow tie pasta in salted boiling water following package directions
- In a medium-size saucepan, add in the sour cream and butter, cook on very low heat, stirring until hot and all ingredients are well blended
- Tip in the whiskey, continue heating another two minutes
- Stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan
- Sprinkle in a couple pinches each salt and cracked black pepper, check seasoning, adjust to taste
- Just before draining pasta, ladle a small amount of boiling pasta water into the large bowl with the peas
- Tumble the drained pasta to the serving bowl with the peas, pour in the white sauce and toss to coat
- Fold through the salmon pieces
- Transfer pasta to a serving dish topped with some salmon pieces
- Sprinkle over with the remaining fresh Parmesan cheese