Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Yes, I DID say canned salmon

I've been poking around the back corners of my pantry lately, trying to use up the stuff that I've stockpiled. If there's anything my family is good at, it's packing every square inch of storage space in a house full of just about anything you can imagine. With me, the one place where I excel at maximum-clutter-per-inch is my pantry.

And today, as I was collecting bits and pieces from around the kitchen and putting them in the pile of what was going to be dinner at some future moment, I found a can of salmon.

The only thing I have ever used canned salmon for is salmon patties. In fact, I kind of had it stuck in my head that that's the only GOOD use for them. So I set out to prove myself wrong.

After we ate, I realized I had basically made tuna casserole in a skillet. But it had the three basic food groups: dairy, cheese and butter.

Salmon and Penne Skillet

8 oz cooked penne pasta, drained
1 tbsp butter
1 small yellow onion, cut in half and sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut in strips
1 can of salmon, drained with juice reserved
about 1/2 cup of milk
about 3 tbsp Parmesan Romano salad dressing (See notes for some substitutions)
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
3 oz frozen spinach
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
pepper, to taste

Saute onions and bell peppers in olive oil until the onions are transluscent. Whisk together the salmon juice, milk, Parmesan-Romano dressing, mustard and tarragon. Add to skillet and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Add pasta, spinach, about 1/2 cup of cheese and pepper to taste. Stir until cheese is melted and then add the salmon. Cook until heated through and top with the remaining cheese.

I would have used half and half, but I only had skim milk. So I added the salad dressing to thicken it up a bit, and figured the extra flavor wouldn't hurt. But since I think I'm one of about five people in the country with this particular flavor of salad dressing, feel free to use cream or 1/2 and 1/2 in place of the milk and dressing.

I would definately recommend cranking up the amount of mustard and tarragon - probably doubling it. I wanted it to have that slight mustard bite and it didn't - although if you use cream instead of the salad dressing, the mustard and tarragon flavors might come through a little better.

I need an herb garden!

After I typed this up and hit "publish" I realized this is perfect for Presto Pasta Nights! So that's where it's heading off to.


Sara said...

I don't like salmon, but I would totally make this and leave the salmon out, sounds yummy!

Ruth Daniels said...

I do love salmon, but like you I don't use it for much. In addition to salmon patties (always a treat), is creamed salmon on toast. I'm sure it's the only dish I make with nothing BUT cans ;-)

Thanks for sharing the pasta with Presto Pasta Nights.

Parsnip said...

It's awesome what you can create with what you already have. Very good-looking dish. :)

A scientist in the kitchen said...

Now that's one way to make use of canned salmon!

Anonymous said...

My mom used to make salmon stew when I was a kid. It was great! You make it like clam chowder, but substitute salmon.