I've recently been asked where I get the majority of my meal inspiration, and my reply was "At the grocery store!" It is not unusual for me to venture out to the store with the main necessities in mind (milk, eggs, sugar) but with no actual shopping list in hand. I'll walk through the aisles and look for food items that are new-to-me and think of the different ways I could turn them into a delicious dish. And (obsessively organized people, look away), I actually enjoy shopping this way!
This was exactly how I came across leeks. A vegetable I've hardly heard of, and never tried, so without hesitation I popped it into my cart to be dealt with at home in the kitchen. After a little research I soon learned this beautiful vegetable is a cousin to onions, with a little distinction in taste and texture. The green end of the stalk is bitter and fibrous, but the white end impressed me enough to buy this vegetable time and time again! It is now a regular in my kitchen. Today I paired it with a few modest ingredients and then added small slabs of wild caught salmon. Give this recipe a try and enjoy!
Pasta with Leek Sauce and Salmon
3 Leeks, washed well and chopped (white ends only)
3 Shallots, finely chopped
2 Cups heavy cream
6 Tablespoons butter
2 Teaspoons salt (or more, as preferred)
1 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Teaspoon black pepper
1 Cup white wine (not "cooking" wine)*
1 one-pound fillet of salmon, cut into cubes
Pasta of choice, enough for 4
Parmesan Cheese, shredded, for topping
Parsley, for garnish
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a large pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
2. While the water is heating, begin the sauce. Place a large skillet medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter. Once butter has melted completely, immediately add 3 finely chopped shallots and saute until soft and golden. Next add 3 washed and chopped leeks (white ends only) and cook, mixing often, for about 5 minutes (until soft and golden in color).
3. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon black pepper and combine. Turn heat up to high and add 1 cup of white wine. Allow to come to a boil, then cook until the sauce has reduced by about half.
4. Bring heat back down to medium and add 2 cups of heavy cream. Allow to come to a simmer and add the cubed salmon fillet.
4. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until salmon is just done, and take of the heat. Do not overcook.
5. Plate the dish. Pasta, then the leek sauce with the chunks of salmon, topped with shredded Parmesan cheese and garnished with parsley. Luckily, you've timed it just so and your pasta and leek sauce is ready at approximately the same time. Enjoy!
*For better and more delicious results, I would not suggest "cooking wine". Any wine you can actually drink is the wine you should use in recipes.