Try this dilled salmon mac and cheese for New Year’s Eve

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD MATTERS - DILLED SALMON MAC AND CHEESE

This is a won­der­ful dish for par­ties be­cause it’s ele­gant but easy to eat. I’ve al­ways been fond of adding aro­matic fresh dill to creamed salmon dishes, and in­clud­ing lit­tle bits of smoked salmon cre­ates a far more com­plex fla­vor. The sauce can be pre­pared up to 2 days in ad­vance and re­frig­er­ated. Bring it to a sim­mer over low heat. Do not cook the pasta un­til just prior to serv­ing. 1/2 lb. cam­pan­elle (or other sim­i­lar dried pasta) 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) un­salted but­ter, di­vided 4 oz. fresh salmon fil­let, skinned Salt and freshly ground black pep­per to taste 2 shal­lots, minced 3 Tbsp. all-pur­pose flour 2 cups half-and-half, warmed 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tsp. grated lemon zest 6 oz. mas­car­pone 2 oz. freshly grated Parme­san 1 oz. smoked salmon, chopped

Pre­heat the oven to 400 de­grees. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta un­til it is al dente. Drain the pasta, run it un­der cold water and re­turn it to the pot.

Melt 1 ta­ble­spoon of the but­ter, and rub it on both sides of the salmon. Sea­son the salmon with salt and pep­per, and en­close it in a square of alu­minum foil. Bake for 10 to 12 min­utes, or un­til it is cooked through and flakes eas­ily. When cool enough to han­dle, break the salmon into 1-inch pieces.

Heat the re­main­ing but­ter in a saucepan over medi­um­low heat. Add the shal­lots, and cook, stir­ring fre­quently, for 5 min­utes, or un­til they soften. Stir in the flour and cook, stir­ring con­stantly, for 1 minute, or un­til the mix­ture turns slightly beige, is bubbly, and ap­pears to have grown in vol­ume. In­crease the heat to medium, and slowly whisk in the half-and-half. Bring to a boil, whisk­ing fre­quently. Re­duce the heat to low, and sim­mer for 2 min­utes.

Stir in the dill, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add the cheese to the sauce by 1/2cup mea­sures, stir­ring un­til the cheese melts be­fore mak­ing an­other ad­di­tion. Stir in the smoked salmon, and sim­mer for 1 minute.

Add the sauce to the pasta, and stir well. Gen­tly fold in the salmon, and sea­son to taste with salt and pep­per. Cook over low heat un­til the pasta is hot and coated with the sauce. Serve im­me­di­ately. Serves 4 to 6.

— From “Mac & Cheese” by Ellen Brown (Run­ning Press, $20)

Dilled salmon mac and cheese, fea­tured in Ellen Brown’s new book,“Mac and Cheese,” is an up­scale spin on one of Amer­ica’s fa­vorite com­fort foods. CONTRIBUTED BY STEVE LE­GATO

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