This recipe came together from my perennial philosophy of making what I have got. And by "what I have got" I mean, what is in season and grown sustainably and lived a good life within a short radius to where I too live and breathe. What grows together goes together, you may have heard me say, many times. I don't like to plan too much in advance, or reverse engineer my eating against the grain of this ideal. So this is what I had last night...
This recipe features a little wild food -wild line caught salmon ultra sustainably harvested by Okanagan Select, a first nations company, plus some foraged "weeds" called purslane, Okanagan grown organic rye flour from True Grain Bread in my own home town of Summerland and some walnuts from a little old lady at the Naramata Farmers' Market. The only thing not local is the lemon, parmesan and olive oil. Enjoy!
*Prepare your pasta dough at least two hours in advance of dinner prep.
- 1 cup rye flour
- ½ cup plain flour
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1 large organic egg
- ¼ cup filtered water (more or less, as needed)
Walnut Basil Pesto (makes a little extra)
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup whole Fresh Basil leaves
- 2 cloves good organic garlic or 1 if its a large clove
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 lb salmon fillets ( You can use good canned salmon in a pinch)
- Parmesan cheese for grating
- 1whole lemon (for rind and juice)
- handful or two of purslane, see here for info, mid story (optionally replace with brocollini rabe or wild asparagus)
Pasta Dough Preparation
To prepare the pasta dough, mix the flours with salt on a clean surface (your kitchen counter), make a well in the middle, add the beaten egg, whisk with a fork or, as I do, with my fingers (I like to feel the consistency) to combine. If the dough is dry and isn't coming together start to add the water in increments until you have sufficiently kneaded the dough (around 5 mins) to form a nice elastic dough ball. Wrap it with cling wrap and place it in the fridge for at least an hour. Take it out when you start to prepare the dinner later so the dough has a chance (give at least 30 mins) to warm up and soften, so that it is workable.
If you have got a good mortar and pestle I suggest using it, otherwise a food processor or Bullet will work well too. If you are using a mortar and pestle, using a knife chop down the walnuts quite finely as well as the basil. Chop the garlic cloves. Add the garlic in first with the salt, then add in the walnuts, then the basil. Work it until you have the consistency in the photograph. In a food processor, throw all the ingredients in together and pulse until you get the same consistency as the photo of the pesto. Not too smooth.
Pasta Rolling and Cutting
For pasta forming by hand (no pasta roller): Clear a big space on your counter, and have a handful of rye flour handy (for dusting the counter and the rolling pin). Cut the dough ball in four and work the dough balls into rather flat ovals, around 5 inches wide and 7 inches long. Roll each out until they are about 2 or 3 millimeters thick. Refer to the photographs for a reference point. For the pasta roller option, create the same ovals then feed the dough in to the pasta roller, at the first largest setting. After first pass through, fold the dough over and repeat, do this a couple times. Then do the same on the second, only passing through once, and then pass it through once again at the third size setting. Lay out the sheets of dough and roughly cut them in to 1/2 or 3/4 inch noodles. This large size will be nice and chewy. I like them rough and rustic. Keep the noodles from sitting around touching together for too long or they will stick together. I suggest hanging them on a broom handle set up between two kitchen chairs. Prepare the salmon.
While you are here, put a large pot of water to boil on the stove for the pasta. Add a tablespoon or more of kosher salt to the water. It should taste like the ocean. Salty. The salmon - If you have a nice fresh piece of salmon (not canned), warm up your frying pan at high heat with some olive oil. Once its hot, place the salmon skin side down, then immediately turn the heat down. Don't move the salmon. You want to get a maillard reaction, a little carmelizing burn on the skin to the point that when you shift the pan, the piece(s) of salmon will move freely, not stick. Once you get the crust, give the salmon a flip. For this recipe, don't undercook the salmon, cook it all the way through. Take the salmon off the heat and let it cool a little while you finish the pasta. Gently remove the salmon skin and set aside.
( I forgot to take a pic of this step! sorry :) )
The pasta water should be at a full boil. Turn it down to a soft boil ( a furious rolling boil could damage your nice pasta shape). Place the pasta noodles in the water for 2 to 3 mins for a nice al dente texture. Immediately remove from the water. Place into a bowl, and toss with the pesto (as much as you desire). Flake the salmon over the pasta in the same bowl. Add the Purslane tips. Grate over the rind of half a lemon.
Plate and grate over fresh parmesan and give a little squeeze of lemon over the dish to finish. If your fish skin is nice and crispy and you enjoy crispy fish skin, add it as a garnish to the plate. You can always give the fish skin a second fry to crisp it up further :)
Check out these great healthful benefits of this meal -
Benefits of rye flour: Rye flour retains a large quantity of nutrients, because it’s difficult to separate the bran while processing the flour. The flour is packed with Manganese (necessary for bone production and skin integrity), Magnesium (responsible for the Sodium-Potassium exchange at cells level) and fibers (promoting the gastrointestinal health). As the white flour is completely emptied of nutrients during processing, rye seems to be a reliable alternative.
Purslane is at the bottom left and is in the soil at the top right, with the small succulent leaves
Benefits of Purslane: It's a prolific weed, so you likely have lots available once you identify it and decide to stop picking it. Plus, fresh leaves contain surprisingly more omega-3 fatty acids (α-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant. 100 grams of fresh purslane leaves provide about 350 mg of α-linolenic acid. Research studies show that consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and help prevent the development of ADHD, autism, and other developmental differences in children.
Benefits of Walnuts: One-quarter cup of walnuts, for instance, provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats, along with high amounts of copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin. Walnuts may help reduce not only the risk of prostate cancer, but breast cancer as well. Walnuts contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with heart disease, or those who have increased risk for heart disease due to multiple cardiac risk factors. Walnuts contain several unique and powerful antioxidants that are available in only a few commonly eaten food. Walnuts may improve sperm quality, help with weight control, and offer support for brain health and type 2 diabetes.