This is one of my early signature dishes; citrus cured salmon, bok choi and dill on squid ink fettuccine with a lime and dill crème fraiche. It’s one that started off as a much simpler version, and over time I have adapted it to the point that I am really happy with it. Its inspiration derived from colour (black, pink and green looked stunning), the love of home-made pasta and the delight of cured salmon.
The dish started as the fusion of Asian ingredients with the classic smoked salmon and Italian pasta. However, as I played around with salt-curing fresh salmon fillet with citrus, coriander seed and star anise I found it provided a more complete balance of flavours. The crème fraiche with lime and dill was the last addition, one that provided some real acidity in the dish and for me tops it off really nicely. Try it out and let me know what you think.
Citrus-Cured Salmon, Squid Ink Fettucine and a Lime and Dill Crème FraichePrint
- For the Salmon:
- ■ 300g citrus cured salmon | See below for the recipe link. Slice the salmon into thin slices and then break into smaller pieces with your fingers.
- For the Fettuccine:
- ■ about 500g squid ink fettuccine | See below for the recipe link.
- For the Crème Fraiche Sauce:
- ■ 300ml crème fraiche |
- ■ 1 lime - juice of | Freshly squeezed.
- ■ ½ bunch fresh dill | Finely chopped.
- ■ seasoning of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper |
- For the Dish:
- ■ 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil |
- ■ 1 bunch fresh dill | Roughly chopped.
- ■ 3 bok choi | Roughly chopped – pak choi or similar can be used instead.
- ■ 1 clove garlic | Finely chopped.
- ■ 1 red chilli | I like a little bit of bite in this dish so use a bird's-eye chilli deseeded and finely chopped.
- ■ 2 tbsp. fish sauce (nam pla) | Adds a great flavour and saltiness.
- ■ a squeeze lime juice | To taste.
Heat a wok until it starts breathing – that means hot – and add the grapeseed oil. Mince the garlic and chilli together with a little sea salt. Do this by using the flat side of a knife and crushing the chilli, garlic and salt until a paste forms. Add this paste to the hot wok and stir fry for 10-15 seconds. Then add the bok choi, dill and fish sauce and stir fry for about 4-5 minutes until the bok choi has wilted.
In the meantime prepare the crème fraiche sauce. Mix the crème fraiche, lime juice, dill and cracked pepper in a bowl. Add salt to taste.
To cook the pasta takes care and attention. It is vital that the pasta is cooked perfectly or else if it is slightly overcooked the dish doesn’t work. Into salted boiling water add the squid ink fettuccine ensuring that it is gently loosened in the water so that strands don’t stick together. Cooking takes about 2-3 minutes. Every time I make this I just keep checking the firmness of the pasta during cooking. When it has that al dente feel – slightly firm but cooked – then remove from the pan, drain and then wash gently with cold water to remove any stickiness and to stop the cooking process. As I am not using a wet sauce to coat the pasta, and therefore want the strands to be ‘loose’, the pasta is rinsed with cold water.
Add the fettuccine to the wok, and toss the pasta in the bok choi mixture for about 20 seconds on high heat. Then turn off the heat and keep tossing the pasta till well coated. The pasta should have heated up again. Add a squeeze of lime.
Add half of the salmon to the pasta, gently mix, and then repeat with the rest. Serve immediately and then garnish with the crème fraiche sauce.
The recipe for citrus-cured salmon is here.
The recipe for squid ink fettuccine is here.
■ It’s crucial that the pasta is the right texture, as if it is overcooked the dish will become too mushy, and even though it will still taste great, the feeling is all wrong. ■ Ensure you serve this dish straight after adding the salmon – then you’ll have a combination of cooked and semi-cooked salmon which is delightful, even if I say so myself.