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Jul 17, 2014 09:06 AM

Smoked Salmon Pasta - Help with Ingredient Amounts, Please?

I have an old recipe that came from a friend. Unfortunately, I cannot find my written copy, but do remember the ingredients and how to make the dish. I just can't figure out the amounts of the ingredients.

It's for a smoked salmon pasta. Here's what I remember:
Cook tomato paste in a deep skillet. Once it's melted, add in heavy cream (or half-and-half?). Reduce until thickened. Stir in one bag of cooked shoepeg white corn, and then some smoked salmon that has been cut into ribbons. Dump in cooked penne pasta (I think a pound?) and add a bit of reserved pasta water, as needed, to get the sauce to the right consistency. Serve with a bit of chipped fresh parsley on top, and freshly grated parm.

No idea on the amounts, though, other than the pasta and the corn. So ... any idea on how much:

Tomato paste?
Heavy cream or half-and-half?
Smoked salmon?

Thank you

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    1. re: letsindulge

      Er, yes, that is important. I think it was for four, as a main dish (supporting are a green salad and some warm, fresh bread, I think).

    2. I;ve disected and replicated many a now closed restaurant dishes over the years with excellent results.

      I have an old one that uses smoked salmon, capers, heavy cream, marscapone chese, taragon, fresh chopped garlic, olive oil and lots of fresh cracked black pepper over fettucini and grated parm on top...

      I did it in single servings batches until I got the proportions of ingredients correct and now can size it as needed.
      (Pretty recent was a goat cheese cream based pasta with fresh basil and fresh tomatoes from a local Italian place that many a friend cooks all the time in the summer.)

      Rule one to me is to keep in mind that a little bit of smoked salmon goes a LONG way.
      Thus why usually the need for strong flavors to help balance it.

      For your recipe, I'd buy a tube or small can of tomato paste and dolop a tbsp or tblsp into a little oil and fry to get rid of the raw taste.

      Add in salt and pepper, then add in 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup of heavy cream and reduce and keep tasting. For the corn, I;d try and brown it in hot olive oil in a skillet to bump up the flavor, but once you start to get close on the sauce flovor and consistancy add in a handful of the corn to heat. Too much tomatoe paste, add more cream. Too weak, add more paste.

      Then fold in past and retaste and check seasoning. Then do same for salmon. Fome folks like to add cream cheese to sauces like that for taste and thickening powers, but others don't. Some add parm cheese to the sauce once cooked and off the heat, others do not.

      .Once you note on paper what you used and how much it made, then just do the math to increase a batch.

      Trying to do it in the first shot with a big batch risks the loss of a lot of good food.
      It's where the scinece side of cooking and measuring gets you to a baseline that you can fine tune. Dumping, stiring and praying seldonm is ideal unless you are a chef or well versed home cook.

      If you get the correct ingredients as the original recipe in there, that's most of the battle. Good luck.

      4 Replies
      1. re: jjjrfoodie

        Excellent point about starting to work on this as a single serving and perfecting the ingredient amounts. I hate to waste food, and this is a logical approach I'd not considered.

        Also, I really like the idea of browning the corn in a bit of olive oil to increase the flavor; that additional complexity sounds delicious. (I've wondered about using fresh corn, straight off the cob, but have hesitated because the original recipe specified the "frozen shoepeg white corn.")

        1. re: ElsieDee

          Yep ElsieDee, that why I just only mentioned it.

          I have no idea what the original dish taased like and I;d hate to monkey with that baseline until you've made a small plateful that matches as closelya s you can remember to the original. Then you can fuss with things or push it around.

          I find in many cases cooks or chefs will knowingly leave out ingreinets on paper for secrecy or will use an item/ingredient that they make in the restaurant or home that in itelf is another cooking process. Sometimes they just forget to add an ingredient on the list due to haste or forgetfulness.

          It's often why many recipes are hard to replicate and even I sometimes push or pull ingredients on my own meals as a challenge but will note it in my computer or on the recipe folder in the kitchen as to what I did. LOL.

          I;ve never had anything that resembles your OP recipe, so I;m helpless there, but I'll get my Google-Fu on tonite and see what home olks and resaurants are slinging out out there in cyberland. .

          My now deceased mother had her recipes written on 3x5 index cards and with many a scratch out and scribble or even two, three or four versions of the same dish tweaking ingredients and amounts. Drives me nuts as I along with my sister try to sort out what we ate growing up. I remember well what her Lasagna tasted like. Sorting thru the 4 variations on paper cards to get that orginal recipe in original or even proper tasting to me form has proved quite the lesson in frustration and patience. Well and making test-kitchen lasagna "for one" is less than ideal.. LOLOLOLZ.

          1. re: ElsieDee

            I think fresh corn would be a wonderful improvement over frozen- either browned as mentioned or if its sweet and wonderful just add at the end to warm through.

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              I think so too, Ttrockwood; and we're getting such wonderful corn right now!

              I did play around with this a bit this recipe Friday night and think I might be getting close, but I have a bit of a head cold, so I think I'd better wait for another run at it until I can better taste what's happening.

              As for the origins of the recipe: it came from one of my sister's friends at college, some 20 years ago. He was a Greek Cypriot and his family was in the diplomatic corp in some manner, so he'd traveled and lived around the globe. I've no idea if this was a family recipe or something they'd picked-up from goodness-knows-where.