Hearty—Yet Bright and Colorful: A recipe for Salmon Pasta with Crème Fraiche

A hearty recipe for Salmon Pasta with Crème Fraîche—a French bistro classic—plus, my plans for this year’s trip to you-know-where.

A great recipe with hints of spring--both in the colors and the fresh herb flavors.

A great recipe with hints of spring–both in the colors and the fresh herb flavors.

Is spring slow to come where you are? It sure is here in Amerique profonde….and good heavens, we still have over two months until Mr. Sportcoat and I head head off to France….

Looking forward to taking this walk, in Bandol. Photo credit.

Looking forward to taking this walk, in Bandol. Photo credit.

Speaking of which….this year, we’re going a bit off the beaten path: We’ll start in Vienna, then head to Prague. After that, we’ll probably be having “France withdrawal,” so we’re flying to Geneva, then taking a train to Lyon. We’ll eat our way through Lyon for a few days (I haven’t been since I was doing “Europe on $25” a day, when I was 23!), then to Valence and Aix-en-Provence (where I haven’t been since I was 16!).

The apartment we've rented in Cassis. I hope it's as charming as it looks!

The apartment we’ve rented in Cassis. I hope it’s as charming as it looks!

As you probably know, we generally spend weeks at a time on the Mediterranean coast. Last year, we had this amazing realization that we knew the Rousillon coast (that French stretch near Spain) better than just about anywhere else in France. And we knew the Côte d’Azur equally well. And we’ve been through the Camargue (not my favorite place, by the way).

But what are completely less familiar with is….that slice of coast from Marseille to Toulon. In fact, I knew nothing at all about it, until we dipped into Sanury-sur-Mer last year, and went “wow! Where has THIS stretch of the Mediterranean been all our lives?


La Ciotat....Still looking for an apartment here, but doesn't it look charming?

La Ciotat….Still looking for an apartment here, but doesn’t it look charming? Photo credit.

So, in my lifelong quest to know every curve of the bend on the French Mediterranean, this year, we’re renting apartments, for one week each, in Bandol, Cassis, and La Ciotat. Believe me, I’ll report back.

The kitchen of the apartment we're renting in Bandol. One of the things that sold me was the front-load Euro washer! Love being able to do laundry in the apartment!

The kitchen of the apartment we’re renting in Bandol. One of the things that sold me was the front-load Euro washer! Love being able to do laundry in the apartment!

But meanwhile, if you have anything to tell me about where we’re going, I’d love to hear some leads: hotels, restaurants, beaches, walks, bars, wines, drinks, specialties: Anything at all! Truly, I’m all ears.


Yes. Cassis does look a little "precious," doesn't it? But I'll give it a chance.

Yes. Cassis does look a little “precious,” doesn’t it? But I’ll give it a chance! What do you think?  Photo credit.

So….on to today’s recipe:

I’ve been craving something that makes spring and France feel a little closer. Looking through my fave recipes, I realized I hadn’t made this dish for ages: Pasta with Salmon and Crème Fraîche.Smoked Salmon Tagliatelles

This is a recipe you see often in casual French cafes and bistros. At home, it’s one of the best quick recipes ever, especially if you’re a fan of lox-style smoked salmon. The great thing is that most of the ingredients have long shelf lives in the pantry or refrigerator (except the fresh herbs—and you could substitute dried chives or dillweed in a pinch ). Keep everything on hand to get a true-to-France meal on the table quickly.

If you have any fresh spinach lying around, add it to the pasta when you add the salmon. The leafy green will add freshness, nutrients, and great color to the dish. Also, if you prefer the drier hard-smoked salmon over the soft and moist lox-style salmon, you could use that, though the latter is more French.


5.0 from 2 reviews
Hearty—Yet Bright and Colorful: A recipe for Salmon Pasta with Crème Fraiche
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Salmon Tagliatelles is a French bistro classic.
  • 8 ounces dried tagliatelle or fettuccine
  • 1 cup creme fraiche OR ½ cup sour cream and ½ cup whipping cream
  • 4 ounces lox-style smoked salmon (or use hard-smoked salmon if you prefer)
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh chives or dillweed or 2 teaspoons dried chives or dillweed
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Set the pasta water and pasta aside.
  2. In the same pot you used to cook the pasta, whisk together the creme fraiche and the reserved pasta water until smooth. Bring to boiling over medium heat. Return the pasta to the skillet and cook until the sauce thickens a bit. Add the salmon and stir gently to heat through. Add the chives or dillweed.
  3. Divide among four wide, shallow bowls and serve.




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13 comments to Hearty—Yet Bright and Colorful: A recipe for Salmon Pasta with Crème Fraiche

  • Abbie

    Knowing your preferences for “real” France (and not tarted-up France), I’m thinking you’ll like Bandol and La Ciotat better than Cassis, which is pretty, but as you suggest kind of precious.

  • Cecilia

    What a great itinerary! I’m curious–Is Germany “flyover country” for a reason? You could stop there on your way to Geneva instead of flying. Munich is great!

    • Wini

      We thought a lot about tooling through Germany on this trip, but I need to spend as much time in France as possible….for inspiration. I also want to “close in” on my Mediterranean exploration. One day, I hope to know it all as well as I know that stretch from Nice to Menton!

  • Ingrid Wilson

    Love this recipe as it’s quick and tasty. The recipe I use from an old Cosmopolitan cookbook has 3 tablespoons of vodka added to the pasta at the end – I don’t think this really makes any difference to the final outcome!

    • Wini

      Interesting! I don’t think the vodka would add that much flavor unless you were able to reduce it somehow. I had no idea that Cosmo had a cookbook….it’s not the first place I think of for recipes!

  • Ingrid Wilson

    I agree about the vodka not adding much flavour, so probably pointless. The Cosmopolitan Cookbook by Phillippa Cheifitz was published in Cape Town (South Africa ) in 1986 ( I did say it was old!!) by permission of the Hearst Corporation, and I still use it from time to time as it has some great recipes which haven’t dated. Thank you for replying.

  • EM

    Former Iowan living in Vienna writing– Vienna— you are in for a treat.

    Do not miss out on going to the heurigens, drinking the local wines (there are vineyards within the city limits… one of the best things about life here!) and trying the foods from their buffets (trust me, this is nothing like the kind of buffets I knew in the Midwest.) A great place to enjoy a Wiener schnitzel! Each one is open limited days– you have to see if it is ausgesteckt (visible with a bush at the door.. or of course you can check online on the heurigen calendars for a particular one.)

    Also check out the beautiful windows at the Demel pastry shop– they have gorgeous cakes and sweet things. Lots of great ice cream in this city as well!

    • Wini

      What great information, EM! Thanks so much! I feel like this is “insider” info that would have taken some major digging to get. Thanks again!

      • EM

        A few of the ice cream places I recommend… Eissalon am Schwedenplatz (right at the U4 station Schwedenplatz… don’t let the long lines deter you), Eisgreissler… Rotenturnstr. (near the Hard Rock Café).. long lines sometimes but worth it.. I think the chocolate for the chocolate ice creams comes from Zotter, an Austrian chocolatier in Styria province.) My favorite is Das Eis in the 23rd district which is off of the beaten path but if it is open right across from Zahel, one of the best wineries. Most of the tourists end up in kitschy Grinzing.. this is much more local. If you don’t get to a heurigen and stay in the inner city check out the Wein and Co wine stores.. in the first and also in the 6th they have little bistros.. also a great place to buy wines (from Austria and all over.) Austrian wines are a real treat.

        And if you need a break from some of the heavier cuisine there is Da Capo, a really good Italian restaurant in the first near the Stephansdom… my favorite pizza in this city. Also LeBol and Le Salzgriess (pricier)… two French options in the city center.

        I will have to try this salmon pasta recipe… it looks divine!

        • Wini

          Thanks so much for the great advice. I will be sure to take it all with me. If you think of anything else, keep the great ideas coming!

  • EM

    Made the salmon pasta recipe today…two portions/two work lunches. Very, very good, and super fast, with stuff I had in my fridge, cupboard and freezer (used frozen dill and parsley.). Didn’t have any spinach but added Vogerlsalat/lamb’s lettuce to it that had seen better days and it was the perfect added touch.elske@

    More Vienna food recommendations… near Schonbrunn (the side closest to Hietzing U4) go to Brandauer’s… if the weather is nice… the indoor restaurant isn’t so nice-looking (kind of dark and depressing-looking, actually) but the outside courtyard is a nice place for a beer and meal after Schonbrünn Palace (you might want to make a reservation.) The potato soup is a must. And a Viennese institution are the little sandwiches at Trzesniewski https://www.trzesniewski.at/ — the fishy ones are especially good. Several locations.

    And in the 7th there is Brickmakers. (I usually avoid the 7th as I find it too hipster these days for my taste but I make an exception for this place.) Tip… order the fried chicken but sub the subpar potato salad for the mashed potatoes with gravy.

    • Wini

      this is great! I really love the idea of “little sandwiches” especially “fishy ones.” Seriously. Those sound like something to really seek out. Thanks again!

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× six = 36

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