I don’t often cook fish, and when I do, it needs to be as fresh as possible. I’m that customer at my local supermarket who smells of everything. Smell is one of our key senses and should not be neglected when shopping for food. Our nose was designed to allow us to sniff food and judge whether it is safe to eat or not. Even now, with sell-by dates and all sorts of modern vacuum packaging, I still trust my nose before buying anything, especially meat and fish. Fresh fish should have the smell of the sea, it should not be unpleasant but should rather remind you of the crashing of the waves, fresh and salty.
It’s amazing how our nose can decide if the fish is fresh enough to eat and at the same time accept Nam Pla, the Asian fish sauce. I find the strong tasting fermented anchovy sauce to be quite addictive, especially when tossed with sour lime juice.
Making your own fermented foods at home requires a real addiction to knowing what smells good. It is learned and, as always, it is best to trust your instincts. It’s about knowing when the sauerkraut or kimchi is just fermented enough or needs a little longer, and knowing when a ferment has been contaminated and the balance upset. It’s so basic and very ingrained to have to rely on your senses – sight, taste and smell.
This beautiful salmon dish is a real treat for the senses. A creamy white wine and lemon sauce coats al dente tagliatelle, with roasted salmon nuggets. This dish can be assembled in minutes if the salmon is cooked ahead. I usually roast it, then store it in the fridge ready to reheat over the creamy pasta. Simply coat the pasta in the sauce, then place the salmon on top, cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for five minutes to warm through before serving.
I use sun-dried tomato pesto for a quick shortcut to flavor this salmon. You can also simply season it with salt and pepper. I love The Happy Pear Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, it has a bit of cayenne pepper and balsamic vinegar that balances it out nicely. It’s amazing on so many things and really great with this salmon. This is a wonderful mid-week pasta dish that tastes like a real treat.
Recipe: Roast Salmon with Creamy Tagliatelle