I feel like I’ve been terribly negligent in keeping you all updated on my Whole Foods Pantry Challenge. Because I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath to see just what I’ve been cooking with all of those pantry staples – right? Like you have nothing better to do than sit around wondering about my meal-planning abilities.
Mostly you’re probably just wondering when I’m going to get around to choosing a winner for that awesome $50 Whole Foods gift card. Don’t ask me why I decided to make that contest go the whole month of January. In retrospect that seems like an awfully long time. However, the good news is you still have a week left to enter, so get on it if you haven’t already. Just follow the link above, or tweet: I want to win a $50 Whole Foods Gift card from @HFM_Alpharetta and @lifeinrecipes: http://bit.ly/AsEio7. If you’ve already done both of those things, then yay! you’re entered (don’t do it again, though, because you can only enter twice – once in the comments and once on twitter).
Today, I’m talking about salmon. Which I always want to pronounce saL-man (as in Salman Rushdie). It’s annoying. However, it tastes good, and it’s good for you, so I eat it despite the fact that I practically embarrass myself every time I have to ask for it at the fish counter.
I don’t buy salmon (rushdie) often, because I like to buy wild-caught, preferably Alaskan (because their fisheries are reputed to be some of the most sustainable) and that can be expensive. Luckily, every so often Whole Foods will run a sale, and you can get whole salmon filets for $7.99 a pound (normally it costs $14.99 a pound). When that happens, like it did this past Friday, I like to stock up.
Today was one of those days where I just didn’t want to do much of anything. Last night I helped a friend out by catering a dinner for 50 people at her church, so I was tired. Exhausted really. And the last thing I wanted to do was spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It was a lazy, rainy Sunday, is what it was.
At almost 5:00 this afternoon, I remembered that I was supposed to do the Week 4, Day 3 workout in my Couch to 5K program (I bet you thought I’d given up on that, since I haven’t really talked about it in the last three weeks. But I didn’t – I’ve been very good. In fact, today I did something I never thought I’d be able to do – I ran for 20 minutes straight without stopping. I realize that for some people that is a small feat, but for me (who could barely run for one minute when all of this started), it’s huge). Despite the fact that the last thing I wanted to do was get on the treadmill and run, I made myself put on my workout clothes, lace up my running shoes, and do it.
The point of all that (aside from giving myself a huge pat on the back) is to say that I usually try to have dinner on the table by 6:00. If I didn’t start my workout until almost 5:00, that means I didn’t get finished with the workout until almost 5:30, and that means I had fewer than 30 minutes to get dinner ready. Luckily, fish is fast.
adapted from this recipe from Cooking in Sens
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 1/2 pounds wild-caught sockeye salmon, cut into 4-oz. portions
- 1 pound whole wheat pasta (I used the spaghetti I bought at the beginning of the month, for the pantry challenge)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 cup dry white whine
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
- 4 oz. mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, reconstituted in boiling water (also from the pantry challenge)
- parsley for garnish
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Put a large pot of well salted water on to boil. Cook pasta.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the diced onion and cook until traslucent.
- Add the wine and saffron, stir in the mustard and mascarpone. Cook to thicken a bit.
- Add the sundried tomatoes. Taste for seasoning – add salt and pepper as needed.
- When the pasta is al dente, add it to the the cream sauce and stir to combine.
- Heat a large iron skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil
- Season the salmon filets with salt and pepper. Place them in the skillet, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
- Serve salmon over the pasta, garnish with some chopped parsley.
This was a hit with the entire family. The youngest asked for seconds, and the oldest barely complained (which in my book is a huge accomplishment). My husband, who isn’t a huge fan of salmon (he prefers the milder, whiter fishes), even liked it. The sauce was light and mildly floral from the saffron. The pasta had a nice bite to it, and the salmon was delicious – crispy skin, nice sear, tender and flaky on the inside (please don’t chastise me for the layer of albumin sneaking out in that picture above. I realize it’s not cooked to Top Chef perfection, but it was good enough for us). If you’re looking for a quick, flavorful and relatively healthy meal, this is a a good one.