I had a hard time deciding which recipe should be the first on this blog. And I have so many to choose from. I chose this one, because this is often the first meal I cook in January. Orange and thyme pasta with a crispy, delicious salmon on top. It’s become something like a “New Year’s recipe”, so to speak.
I got inspired by a restaurant visit many years ago. It’s a busy but cosy place we have dined at frequently ever since 2001. On their menu is a rich and creamy pasta, flavoured with orange and thyme and topped with crispy, delicious salmon.
And one day, I decided I didn’t want to drive all the way into town to enjoy this amazing pasta. I went straight to the kitchen to recreate the dish. And it’s surprisingly easy, as well!
So here it is:
(yields 2 portions)
- 200ml heavy cream (about 1 cup)
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 organic oranges (this is important because you will need the zests)
- two filets of salmon (about about 100-125g)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch red chili flakes
- 4-5 saffron threads
- 250g pasta of choice
- sea salt and pepper to taste
Slowly heat the cream in a medium sauce pan. Add the fresh thyme sprigs, the red chili flakes and saffron threads and let it simmer gently for about ten minutes.
In the meantime, zest one of the oranges and squeeze out the juice. Add both to the thyme-infused cream. Cut the second orange into filets and set them aside. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook your pasta of choice according to the instructions on the package.
Wash the salmon filets and pat them dry gently. In a heavy pan, heat the olive oil and add the salmon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry until the outside is crispy. (Don’t fry salmon for too long, in any dish. The secret to a perfect salmon is to have the inside just on the verge of being soft and almost glossy.)
Once the pasta is tender, drain it. Don’t rinse. The starch of the pasta will help the sauce to stick. Remove the thyme sprigs from the sauce pan, pour the creamy sauce over the pasta and mix both gently.
Serve the pasta topped with the orange filets and the crispy salmon. Decorate with sprigs of thyme or orange slices, if desired.
I use my own homemade orange-thyme infused sea salt for the salmon. It’s surprisingly easy to make. So if you flavour your own salt, use it for extra flavour. If you don’t make your own flavoured salt already, there will surely be an instruction on this blog in the future. Because it’s so worth it!