Festive Leftovers: Pasta with Salmon, Cream and Dill
It's mid-January, and the kitchen is still stuffed with leftovers from over-enthusiastic Christmas preparation. Jars of preserves, pickles and booze-drenched delicacies threaten to crush me every time I open the larder, the shelves of the fridge are straining with the weight of cheeses, and cured meat and fish. The freezer – our usual solution to this sort of glut – is so full of stocks that I have spent the last hour trying to find space for the ice tray. We haven't even started on our Christmas cake yet!
Considering our ambitions to reduce waste in our last blog post, drastic action is required to tackle this festive glut. My obsession with list-making leads to a detailed stock-take: every festive perishable, sorted by the date on which I'd think twice about eating it. Unopened jams and anything submerged in alcohol or oil will probably keep. The gravlax, cut herbs and open cartons of cream are the priority. Open jars and cheeses fall somewhere in between.
Curious combinations of ingredients become a recurring theme: A salad of butternut squash, walnuts, goat's cheese and onion chutney. Elle's retro 1980s curry that turns leftover meat into irresistible comfort food. Ice-cream, amaretto-soaked pears and crumbled shortbread biscuits. Panettone bread-and-butter pudding, with a drizzle of double cream. Rachel Allen's Christmas pudding-filled St. Stephen's Day muffins.
The gravlax, however, resisted my attempts at imaginative recipes until I had decided on the colours: soft pink, creamy white and specks of bright, vibrant green. The below came about in a moment of inspiration, and I'll admit, pretty happy with the result!
A simple supper of festive leftovers
160g dried pasta
½tsp wholegrain mustard
½tsp fennel seeds
100g smoked salmon or gravelax
1tbsp dill, roughly chopped, with a little extra to serve
crumbled blue cheese
Boil the pasta according to the pack instructions, ensuring it retains a little bite. When cooked, reserve a little of the cooking water, drain the pasta and allow to cool slightly.
Add the cream, mustard and fennel seeds and stir gently, keeping the pan warm on a very low heat, until the liquid thickens slightly.
Add a good grinding of black pepper, followed by the salmon and the tablespoon of dill. Mix vigorously until the salmon is warmed through and has begun to break apart a little. Add a splash of the cooking water if it isn't mixing together well.
Serve the pasta, topped with the crumbled blue cheese and dill. Enjoy!