chunky salmon

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.


  1. Rosemary October 31, 2013 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    I remember this from your restaurant in Ridgefield… Gotta try making it next week. It’s been a long time since I had it. It was yummy… as is all the food you put out!

    • chefsilvia October 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      Oh, thank you Rosemary. It warms my heart to know that these dishes are well remembered. Let me know when you try it.

  2. Elise October 31, 2013 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    I love recipes like this that are flexible and have room to swap out ingredients based on tastes and seasonal availability. Even though, I give people meal ideas all day long, like you, I am sometimes at a loss. Now, I have a new easy-to-make Salmon recipe to add to our repertoire:). And I love the stories…it adds more zest and love to the dish.

  3. Nathalie November 1, 2013 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Yum! I love salmon – especially in winter when we don’t get enough vitamin D from the sun. And the mushrooms and spices make this recipe even more nutritious. I so love to see that you always manage to create dishes that are not only incredibly tasty but so good for us, too!

  4. Lorna November 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    This looks fantastic Silvia. I am glad to read that putting dinner on the table is tough for you sometimes too. I love to cook, but dinner comes around EVERY DARN NIGHT. Sometimes I dread my children’s expectant faces as they say “Mom, what’s for dinner?” Most nights I come through, but sometimes I have to resort to the take out menu drawer.

  5. Shana LaFore November 1, 2013 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Wow, Silvia. This looks absolutely fabulous. I love salmon. Healthy and delicious, I can’t wait to try this out. Yum!!!

  6. kristalangmartin42 November 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    This looks fabulous. Thank you! I’m so glad to know that even experts like you have those days :)

    • chefsilvia November 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm - Reply

      Thank you all for your comments. Glad this looks yummy because it truly is. And yes, i do have those nights when the last thing I feel like doing is cooking. Keeps it real, right? I think there’s a big difference between cooking because you have to and cooking something because you’re inspired and can’t wait to enter the kitchen to try it. Hope this is one of those inspiring dishes.

  7. Melissa Burkheimer November 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    I’m making this tonight – but with chicken. I wish I could smell it coming from your kitchen. It looks AMAZING!!! I love your cooking Silvia!

  8. Mandy November 2, 2013 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Yummoooo! I really enjoy salmon, this looks awesome, Sil.

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