Herb-Crusted Salmon with Pasta & Cream Sauce
We added wild-caught salmon to this riff on the Italian classic pasta al limone where the sauce balances rich cream and bright citrus. La Pluie adds gentle herbal-floral notes and breadcrumbs finish the dish with toasty umami and a pleasing crunch. This is a quick-to-make main that’s ideal for both week-night suppers and dinner parties.
Note: In most parts of the country, fresh wild-caught salmon is not easy to find but flash-frozen salmon is — and it’s very good. Thaw the fish in the fridge for several hours or overnight before cooking.
This recipe also works wonderfully by substituting our Tundra Flower or Herbes de Romance blends.
4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
4 teaspoons Tundra Flower, La Pluie, or Herbed de Romance, divided
¾ teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 pound wild salmon filets
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried fettucine or linguini
1 cup heavy cream
1 lemon, zest and 3 tablespoons juice
1 clove garlic, finely grated
¼ cup chopped parsley
Bring a pot of well-salted water to boil (for cooking the pasta).
Set the oven temperature to 475° F. Put 1 tablespoon of the butter into a large baking dish and place the dish in the oven. While the oven heats, combine 2 teaspoons of the herbal blend you chose and ½ teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl. Set the salmon on a plate, pat it dry with a paper towel, and rub the herb-salt mixture on the top and sides of the filets.
When the oven has come to temperature, remove the baking dish from the oven and add the salmon, flesh side down, to the melted butter. Immediately return the pan to the oven and roast for 5 minutes. Gently turn the filets over (skin side down) using a spatula and roast just until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about another 3 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven and set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon of the herbal blend, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir to coat the breadcrumbs with butter and toast until the they are lightly browned and fragrant. Add the black pepper and stir to combine. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl to cool slightly, then, stir in the Parmesan. Set aside and wipe out the skillet (you’ll use it again for making the sauce).
Cook the pasta until slightly underdone, about 2 minutes less than the package directs. Scoop out about ¼ cup of the pasta water and set it aside; drain the pasta.
Set the skillet over medium heat. Pour the cream into the skillet and add the lemon zest and remaining 1 teaspoon of the herbal blend. When the cream starts to bubble around the edges of the skillet, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the reserved pasta water, lemon juice, and grated garlic, then add the partially cooked pasta and toss to combine. Continue to cook, tossing/stirring until the sauce thickens and the pasta is cooked through, 3-5 minutes longer. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Flake the salmon into large chunks using a fork; discard the skin and any bones. Add the salmon and parsley to the pasta and gently toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates and top with the toasted breadcrumbs. Serve warm.