Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Lotsa Love for Leftovers
Tom and I were finally able to join our good friend (and Tom's former neighbor) Martha for dinner at her house; we'd been talking about it and planning it for ages, but health and holidays kept managing to intrude upon our scheduling. Vivian, another one of "the girls" from Tom's old neighborhood -- where Tom was virtually the only man surrounded by women! -- completed our quartet.
Despite it being a cold, dreary, rainy day, there was such warmth and fun at Martha's!!! We talked about art, about travel, about movies, about food. And oh, you wouldn't believe the generosity of the offerings -- if I had been in "blogger mode" rather than in "friend and hearty eater mode," I would have had to take a dozen pictures to show everything off.
Martha had grilled salmon and a vegetable assortment to perfection; there was a hint of charcoal aura and flavoring, but no singeing or blackening to be found on the fish or on the zucchini, peppers and Portabellos.
There were gluten-free breads that were reminiscent of English muffins and very good; I'd never had them before. There was salad, there were potatoes and yams, Vivian had brought braised escarole, there was tempeh, there were gluten-free date snickerdoodles for dessert ... the fruit salad Tom and I brought paled by comparison to the abundance surrounding it. I am still in awe of Martha's generosity of spirit in providing such an extraordinary feast and fabulously interesting and entertaining evening!
Before we left, Martha also gave us plates full of leftovers. Now, I happen to be a very big fan of leftovers -- whether I'm re-heating and re-serving or whether I'm transforming an ingredient, it doesn't matter. Leftovers are wonderful ways to remember excellent meals, no matter how they're used.
I had debated greedily saving the salmon for myself and bringing it to work one day for lunch. But my conscience won out and I extended it by using it in a pasta dish to share with Jeremy instead.
I love Dijon mustard, and use it in everything from sandwiches to sauces. And pasta sauce is no exception -- especially when I was making a creamy sauce, rather than a tomato sauce. I took some butter, some mustard, some soy creamer (what we had on hand), and the salmon, and turned them into a rich sauce to pour over curly pasta. Jeremy -- who is not normally a fish eater -- told me he'd eat salmon every day if I'd serve it like that!
So many, many thanks to Martha for the truly extraordinary evening! And much credit to her, as well, for her expert grilling technique. I wonder if Jeremy would like this dish as much without that remarkable charcoal-infused flavor in the fish ...? It might be that Martha's skill, rather than mine, is what made him love it so!
Pasta and Salmon in Mustard Cream Sauce
12 ounces medium-sized whole wheat pasta (i.e.: rotini, penne)
1 large carrot, peeled, halved, sliced
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
2/3 cup soy creamer or half-and-half
pinch of kosher salt
1 large salmon fillet, pre-cooked
shredded parmesan cheese, for serving
Bring a stockpot of salted water to boil, then add the pasta and the carrot; cook for 9 minutes, adding the peas for the last minute of cooking, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and the mustard together in a large skillet until the butter melts.
Stir in the creamer and the salt; whisk to combine.
Flake the salmon and stir it into the sauce.
Pour the sauce over the drained pasta, and sprinkle with parmesan to taste.
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