This pasta. This pasta is everything. Soft, gently cooked, flakes of salmon tossed with al dente orecchiette that scoops up the peas and herbs. Plus, the fennel and lemon are the perfect thing to compliment salmon. This pasta is light and flavoursome. Fresh spring flavours in a bowl.
Even better, it’s quick and easy to make. You can steam the salmon over your pasta as it boils away. The sauce takes mere minutes to bring together, even including slicing the fennel. The spinach, fennel and peas add a healthy couple of serves of vegetables to this meal and you have the good fats in the salmon to keep you full for longer so it’s a great nourishing meal. Look how pretty it looks too!
If you want to add extra vegetables this zucchini, pea and mozzarella salad carries through the same flavours and works really well with it.
I love including fish in my diet to get those good fats in. I have this real fear of my brain deteriorating as I age (I have had this fear since I was about 14, I was a clearly a super positive kid) so anything I can do to help keep it healthy and active is a win, and omega 3’s have the health part sorted for me. There’s always avocado for this too…
If you’re serving more than 2 people you can easily just multiply the quantities accordingly. I have given a variation in salmon portion size because a little less or more isn’t going to unbalance things too much so don’t be pedantic about it, just a smallish fillet of salmon is fine. I purchased mine boned and skin removed to save me time. It’s a pity to lose the skin as it’s so full of great nutrients so if you purchase it with the skin on you could always grill it until it is crispy and then serves shards of it over the salmon pasta – yum!
1 x 200g salmon fillet, boned and skin removed
200g orecchiette pasta
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup finely sliced fennel
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 small clove garlic
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup frozen or fresh baby peas
2 Tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese
½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup fennel fronds, roughly chopped
Bring a pot of salted water to boil for your pasta and a place a piece of parchment paper over the base of a steaming basket (or something similar) that fits over your chosen pot.
Cook your pasta according to packet directions. You can cook your pasta at the same time as the salmon, that way there’s less pots for you to clean. Alternatively you could wait to after you’re done steaming (the water may have some oil from the salmon in it. This doesn’t matter. When draining the pasta reserve a ¼ cup of the cooking water
Zest the lemon and then cut in half and juice. Reserve the juice and zest for late. Cut three slices from the juiced lemon and lay these on top of the parchment paper. Place the salmon over top season lightly with salt and pepper and then steam over the boiling water for 7 minutes. Or until cooked to medium. Using your hands or a fork, flake the salmon into small bite sized chunks.
Add the olive oil to a large heavy based fry pan and sauté gently on low to medium heat, once it is starting to soften add the garlic and chilli and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Add the spinach, peas, cooked pasta and salmon. Stir through. Add the parmesan, all but 1 Tbs of the herbs, ½ the lemon zest, the lemon juice and a couple of tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Toss to combine all ingredients and coat the pasta, if it’s too dry you can add more of your reserved pasta water. Check seasoning and adjust.
Divide pasta between two bowls and serve with the reserved herbs, a generous crack of black pepper and lemon zest sprinkled over the top.