Sometimes I run out of ideas for what to make for dinner.
Surprised? Most people think I snap my fingers and I pull a fabulous meal out of my chef hat. First of all I don’t wear a chef hat – it messes my hair.
But dam. Sometimes putting a tasty (and healthy) meal on the table day after day (especially when feeding finicky eaters or dealing with food restrictions) is simply not fun and not what I feel like doing.
Can’t we skip eating tonight? But my stomach growls at me and demands to be feed. That’s when a frozen pizza (with salad to ease my guilt) is the menu of the night and the hungry monster is appeased…but not delighted – though my daughter is.
After a night off however, I feel the need to get some Google inspiration or dig through my library of old favorites to wet my appetite. This is one of those nights. And what I dug up did delight me and thousands of others for almost 10 years in my restaurant.I couldn’t even think about taking it off the menu. I tried but there was a roar in the dining room.
We called it Chunky Salmon, a quick sauté of fresh salmon – cut in bite sized pieces – and an assortment of wild mushrooms, with a tomato and roasted pepper sauce beautifully glazed by a few splashes of sherry. We tossed it will fresh linguine but you can serve it over rice if pasta is a problem.
The roasted red pepper sauce is both sweet and savory and easy to prepare – even though it’s somewhat time-consuming to roast and peel the bell peppers, but you can do this ahead of time.
You can buy roasted peppers in the supermarket of course, but I assure you, once you roast them yourself, you’ll never go back to store-bought again – and you’ll know there’s no additives in your batch.
If I were you, I’d roast extra because you’re gonna love serving them tossed with a drizzle of olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper, and some fresh parsley or basil as an accompaniment to many meals, in salads, or on sandwiches.
I suppose this intro was a lot of chatter about a simple dish but every dish has a story. So leave me a comment below the recipe about this story, this dish or maybe you have a tale of your own about a dish – and guys, I’m not talking about a gal.
Makes 4 servings
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound wild mushrooms (shiitake, crimini, portobello, or other favorite), stems removed, cleaned, and sliced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 pound linguine (or if you prefer, rice)
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 pound salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons sherry
1 cup crushed tomatoes
3 large red bell peppers, roasted and puréed (see below)
1/2 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 tablespoons half and half (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, stems removed and chopped
Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of boiling, salted water.
Heat half the olive oil, (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in a large skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds, until the oil is hot but not smoking. Add the mushroom slices and half the garlic and cook until the mushrooms are soft but still firm, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
While the pasta cooks, put the remaining olive oil in the same skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds, or until the oil is hot but not smoking. Brown the salmon in the hot oil for about 1 minute on all sides, add the remaining garlic, a pinch (or two) of the pepper flakes and cook briefly, until the garlic begins to turn golden, add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes lowering the heat when the sauce begins to bubble.
Add the sherry, return the mushrooms to the pan, add the puréed peppers and the broth. Cook until the sauce starts returns to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the cream, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add a bit more broth if the sauce is too thick. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, drain the pasta and toss it in a large serving bowl with the liquid portion of the sauce. Adjust the seasoning. Transfer the pasta to individual serving plates and top each serving with the sautéed ingredients. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley or basil.
To Roast the Peppers
Place the peppers on a baking sheet in a pre-heated 450 degree oven
Cook until the skin on all sides is blackened. (about 30 minutes or so) Turn over when one side is blackened. (check at 15 minutes)
Set in a bowl covered with plastic (or in a paper bag) to cool.
When cooled, peel blackened skin (it comes off easily) and remove seeds. You’ll want to do this by the sink so you can keep rinsing your hands.
Place the peppers in the bowl of a food processor (or you can chop them by hand) and pulse until they’re chopped but still chunky.
That’s all folks!
Unless of course you’d like to leave a comment below…and we can keep the story going.