Garden Pasta with Grilled Salmon

Garden Pasta with Grilled Salmon
By Evin O’Keeffe

Spring is a season of new life. Everywhere, green sprigs can be seen sprouting from the earth and trees burst with pale green leaves, preparing for the warmth of Summer. It is also one of my favorite times of year because lush produce is once again available locally. Sure, we can find imported vegetables year-round, but something about knowing the ingredients have come from my region really is a sign that Spring has arrived!

One of my favorite recipes for Spring (and even Summer) is from a neighbor who whipped it together when we had an impromptu lunch on the patio the first day the weather was absolutely perfect for alfresco dining. He meandered through his garden trimming fresh herbs and pulling up ingredients then created the most delicious aroma from his tiny yet magical kitchen. The result was so memorable that I kept the recipe and am now sharing it with you these seven years later. This is also an easy meal to prepare ahead of time and notations in the recipe have been made to make that simpler.

Garden Pasta with Grilled Salmon
Serves four

2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 ½ tsp lemon zest
Olive oil
¼ cup chopped spring onions (scallions)
3 tsp fresh mint, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
4 servings of salmon filets (if you’re in a hurry, you can use sliced smoked salmon instead and skip step 3)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch lengths
½ cup fresh fennel, julienne (may substitute 2 Tbsp freshly ground ginger if you prefer)
1 ½ cups fresh sugar snap peas
4 cups farfalle (butterfly/bowtie) pasta (may substitute quinoa or brown rice for low GI)

1. To create the fish marinade, whisk 1 Tbsp lemon juice, minced garlic, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, and 1 Tbsp olive oil together then stir in 1 tsp mint and 1 Tbsp dill. Sprinkle salmon filets with salt and pepper and place in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate until step 3 (at least 15 minutes, this can be done the night before if you wish).
2. Blend the remaining lemon juice, lemon zest, mint, and dill with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of spring onions (the greener ends). Set sauce aside until step 5 (refrigerate overnight if you are preparing this ahead of time).
3. Preheat your oven to 375 F and lightly coat a baking sheet or large shallow dish with olive oil. Remove the salmon filets from the marinade and place two inches apart and cook on the center rack for 8-10 minutes or until the fish is cooked thoroughly. Discard the marinade.
4. While the salmon is cooking in the oven, bring a small pot of water to boil and blanch the asparagus and snap peas until just barely tender. Drain and set the greens aside. At the same time, cook the farfalle pasta to al dente and toss lightly with olive oil.
5. While all ingredients are still hot and once the salmon is cooked (remove the skin), place all ingredients (salmon filets, blanched spring onions and asparagus, cooked pasta, and sauce) in a large bowl suitable for serving. Toss together and serve garnishing with a dash of spare dill, mint, and lemon zest. Can also be topped with a bit of freshly grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese.