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.
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….
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!).
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?
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.
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.
So….on to today’s recipe:
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.
- 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
- Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Set the pasta water and pasta aside.
- 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.
- Divide among four wide, shallow bowls and serve.
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