27 May 2010

Recipe: Smoked Salmon & Leek Cream Sauce

I must give credit where credit is due. This recipe was inspired largely by a dinner at a friend's house, where I was pleasantly (and deliciously) surprised at how few ingredients can go into a dish with such huge flavor. So, clearly, this dish is great for entertaining, or just a quiet romantic evening with someone special.

When I finally got around to trying my hand at this recipe, I did put a bit of my own twist on it. Instead of long noodles, I used large wild mushroom tortelloni. Once the hot pasta was plated, I finished it with a tomato and avocado salad, for a temperature and texture contrast.

Update: Just tried it with smoked trout instead of salmon - awesome!

I hope you'll try your hand at this recipe as well. Tell me how you liked it, or what you did to make it your own!

Smoked Salmon & Leek Cream Sauce with Tomato Avocado Salad

Servings: 2 Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 10 min

Here's what you need:

For the salad:
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 roma tomato
1/2 ripe avocado
2 TB diced leek or shallot
salt and pepper, to taste

For the pasta:

Pasta, 2 servings*
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil (not virgin)
1 small leek, halved and thinly sliced
2 ounces (appx 50 grams) smoked salmon, finely shredded or diced
2 TB dry white wine 
1/2 cup cream, light or heavy, whatever (just not fat-free)
Salt and pepper, to taste

*Before you start: The sauce takes about 8-10 minutes to prepare. Make sure to time your pasta so it will be complete right at the sauce-finishing mark, this will be important.

Here's what you do:


  1. Make the salad while you wait for your pasta water to come to a boil.
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil, and set aside.
  3. Dice your tomato and avocado, and mix in a bowl with your vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Set aside to marinate while you put together your pasta sauce.
  1. Preheat your pan over medium to medium-low heat, then add your oil and butter. Why both? The butter's for flavor, and the oil's to make sure it's not "burnt" flavor.
  2. Add leeks to your warm buttery mix and saute gently, allowing the leeks to sweat, but not brown. Add a pinch of salt at this point; this will help the leeks release their deliciousness, about 3-4 min.
  3. Once your leeks have given all they have to the oil and are wilted, add your salmon and stir. Turn up the heat slightly.
  4. Allow to cook for about a minute, then add your wine. It should sizzle, and start to evaporate. Allow the mix to reduce until most of the liquid has dissolved, about 3-4 min.
  5. Stir in your cream, and allow it to reduce slightly, about 1 min. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed. Turn off the heat* and add your hot pasta to the pan (it is ready to go, right?); stir to coat.
  6. STOP! DO NOT remove from the burner and serve yet! If you serve the pasta right now, it will be a runny mess, and you'll end up washing most of your sauce down the drain with the dirty dishwater. Instead, allow it to rest for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the starch in the pasta combines with your sauce, creating a creamy decadent coating.
Serve with the rest of your dry white wine, a green salad, and some low candlelight.

*If working on a gas stove, you may want to keep the heat on low, as the burner won't retain the same heat as an electric range.


  1. This looks delish and it's so beautifully photographed.

  2. It sounds great! Do you recommend rinsing the pasta before adding it to the sauce or just throwing it straight in (after draining, of course)?

  3. Just throw it straight in. Rinsing it will get rid of the loose starches on the pasta's surface, which is what you want. Don't even worry about draining it exceptionally well - a little of the pasta water will be helpful, since it usually has a good amount of starch as well.

  4. Delicious! Thank you, bookmarking your blog now. I was looking for an easy salmon leek pasta.


Related Posts with Thumbnails