This is a basic recipe that lends itself readily to variations. It can be pretty rich, and is a lovely color, but it is easily prepared, and I make this from staples on hand when I find I have some cream left over from some other recipe.
2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
1 medium-large shallot, peeled and finely diced (around 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or ½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup white wine (sauvignon blanc, verdelho, a dry chardonnay)
6-8 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 3-ounce can of Dave’s Albacore Smoked Salmon (any of them will do, but I am partial to the Aldersmoked Sockeye for this dish), turned into a bowl and flaked with a fork, liquid in can reserved
1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste
Salt and fresh ground white pepper (black pepper is fine if you don’t mind the spots in the sauce) to taste.
8-12 ounces linguine pasta or conchiglie or lumache
2 tablespoons salt for the pasta water
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the 2 tablespoons of salt.
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (look for the surface to shimmer) add the shallot and sauté until translucent.
Add the thyme to the pan, then the wine.
Start the pasta cooking.
Cook the wine down by 75%. Add the cream and bring to a boil.
When cream beings to boil, add tomato paste 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring in with either a whisk or a wooden spoon. Taste after the first spoonful. You might not want to add more. You do not want it too tomato-y or you will overwhelm the salmon flavor.
Add the salmon to the sauce and stir it around. Add the reserved liquid. Stir gently. Reduce heat to a simmer.
When the sauce will coat the back of a spoon, it should be done. Taste for seasoning, you may want to add a little salt or pepper.
The pasta should be done about now. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water-around 2-3 tablespoons. Add the pasta to the sauce, and toss well to coat the noodles. If the sauce seems a little thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to thin. If sauce seems too thin, just cook in the pan over high heat a moment to thicken the sauce.
Add thinly sliced chives or the green tops of scallions. Thinly sliced button mushrooms sautéed in white wine is nice when you want a little more substance.
Adding frozen (or fresh) peas is good, or you can add some fresh corn off the cob to the dish with the peas.
To lighten the sauce a little, try adding in a 1/2 cup of vegetable stock for 1/2 a cup of cream.
To give the sauce a sprighly lift, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
Use fresh tomato diced instead of, or in addition to, the tomato paste.
If you want to take this over the top, try adding some blanched asparagus tips along with mushrooms and diced tomato.
YIELD: Feeds 2 as a main course, 4 as a side or starter
SOURCE: Chef Andrew Cohen