Salmon is one of my favorite fish because of its mild flavor and versatility. If you are anything like me, I love to make salmon all summer long because it’s so fresh and in season. Cooking salmon in a saute pan or over a hot grill tends to be the method of choice, but sometimes I like to change things up and prepare this buttery fish in a pasta dish.
King Salmon is usually the variety I use during the summer in my recipes, but when the season ends, I use Coho or Sockeye Salmon because you can buy frozen-defrosted fillets all year long. All salmon is delicious in my book, but there is a slight texture and taste difference between them, so I recommend you try them all and see what your palate enjoys best.
The light lemony flavors in this dish make it nice on a warm evening, but it is also very comforting during the cooler months of the year. You can use any type of pasta in the recipe, but brown rice fusilli seems to pair nicely with the zucchini and salmon and it’s gluten-free.
12 ounces of fresh salmon
1 pound brown rice pasta, or any variety pasta
1/2 red onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lemon, zest & wedges
1/4 chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 cup arugula
1. Prepare pasta according to package directions, except if using brown rice pasta – cut time down by 1 minute to leave slightly more al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
2. Remove any skin from salmon and dice into large chunks, about 1 inch thick. Dice zucchini and onion and mince garlic finely. Zest lemon and cut into wedges.
3. In a pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place over medium heat and add onion. Saute onion for 4 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to onions and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
4. Add salmon, zucchini and garlic. Let cook without stirring for 3 minutes. Then, stir gently to cook on other sides, about 4 minutes. Be careful not to tear salmon into little pieces.
5. Add red pepper flakes and lemon zest, stir to combine. Add broth and cream to salmon and vegetables and let it cook for 3 minutes. Add Parmesan cheese and stir, continue cooking for 1 minute.
6. Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water and stir to combine. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes to allow water to reduce. If sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon at a time of pasta water. Add pasta to sauce and turn off heat. Toss to combine and add more salt or pepper, if necessary. To serve – spoon pasta into bowls and top with fresh arugula and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Enjoy!