Posts Tagged ‘Delia Smith’

DSC02920Dinner…what to do, what to do…hmmm.

Nearly ever week I find myself asking my little family, “What do you want for dinner”?

More often than not…my husband and two children say…”Salmon Pesto Pasta, please!!!”

Salmon Pesto Pasta is  almost more popular in our house than homemade pizza. No. Really. It is. And, what cracks me up, is it’s a recipe I threw together one evening after opening the fridge and discovering, with utter frustration, that I had about a 1/2 lb of cooked salmon leftover from our Wednesday Family Dinner night.

Wednesday Family Dinner night is a tradition we started in our home when our eldest daughter was about a year old. The concept was simple: every Wednesday night, without fail, my husband’s mother, brothers, sister, and extended family were invited over for a meal. The intention was simple too: bring everyone together once a week so our daughter would get to know her extremely large family and vice versa. 

In the beginning, it was all a bit awkward. Everyone wanted to bring something or wanted to lend a hand or felt they had to do act like a guest at a dinner party but, in time, we settled into a lovely routine that turned a “hump-night-meal” into something very special…family time.

Salmon Pesto PastaMy mother-in-law, who’s now nearly 90, adores salmon. For her, I try to make it at least two Wednesday nights a month. The first time I made Delia Smith’s Salmon Fillet with Pesto and Pecorino, I knew I was on to a winner. Not only did Mama eat her serving but she asked for seconds! And, what’s more, everyone else liked it too. From that night on, the dish became a favourite “go-to-recipe”.

But then there was that one Wednesday night when I over-bought and ended up with too much leftover salmon in the fridge. Unwilling to throw it out on Thursday night, I started playing with ingredients…a bit more pesto…a bit more pecorino…throw in some Cannellini beans and some oven roasted tomatoes…and voila…a new dish was born…Salmon Pesto Pasta. My little family loved it. The test, however, was Wednesday Family Dinner night…would everyone else like it?

Without exception, the answer was…”Yes!”

I still remember the first time I brought it to the table. It was a beautiful spring day…the salmon was served in a big white bowl, with a lush green salad and some crusty garlic bread on the side. “What’s this, Kim?”, my sister-in-law asked. Before I had a chance to answer, I heard someone say, “Wow! This is gorgeous!!” That’s all it took. Salmon Pesto Pasta was created from a “waste not want not” belief but it’s staying power is all in its taste.

I’ve since figured out how to make this dish from scratch, not using leftovers. I’m sure you’re going to love it. With Lent coming up it’s the perfect Friday night meat-free meal, but it’s also just right for any family dinner night. Make it and let me know how you get on or what changes you’d make. Cheers!

Salmon Pesto Pasta

Serves 6-8


1lb/16oz salmon

2 tablespoons lemon

salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons pesto, plus another ¼ cup/2oz pesto {that’s fluid oz.}

2 rounded tablespoons pecorino cheese, plus another 3 cups/3oz

½ lb/8oz Farfalle pasta (bow tie style)

1 cup/4oz frozen peas

2oz oven-roasted tomatoes

1 can/15oz/425g cannellini beans


1. Pre-heat oven to 230°C/450°F/gas mark 8. Line a baking tray with aluminium and top with a sheet of parchment paper.

2. Rinse the salmon, pat dry with kitchen roll (paper towel), and, if needed, remove any bones you can feel when you run your hand across the top of the salmon.

3. Put the salmon on the parchment paper and pour the lemon juice over it.

4. Salt and pepper, as desired.

5. Top the salmon with 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons pecorino.

6. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked all the way through.

7. While the salmon is baking, cook up the pasta as per the directions on the box.

8. Cook up the frozen peas. {Tip: I do this in the same pot as the pasta, towards the end of the pasta cooking time.}

9. When the pasta is al dente, drain, and put in a large mixing bowl.

10. When the peas are cooked through, drain, and add to the mixing bowl.

11. When the salmon is done, let it cool slightly, shred with two forks, add to the mixing bowl, discarding the skin.

12. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, the cannellini beans, the remaining pesto, and the pecorino. Mix well, taste, add more pesto, pecorino, salt and pepper, if desired.

13. Top with a grating of pecorino and serve immediately.

Related Articles:

Delia Smith’s Salmon Fillet with Pesto and Pecorino at https://inanirishhome.com/2013/02/23/salmon-fillets-with-pesto-and-pecorino-topping/

Lenten Challenge: Friday Meat-Free Meal at https://inanirishhome.com/2013/03/01/lenten-challenge-friday-meat-free-meal/

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Many of you have written in and asked, “What do the Irish eat during Lent?”.

The simple answer to that question is: “Pretty much what everyone else in the world eats during Lent.”

If you mean to ask, “What do Irish Catholics eat during Lent?”…well, that’s an entirely different question.

Catholics everywhere are meant to observe the Lenten tradition of giving something up. In Ireland most will abstain from eating sweets and puddings (dessert) or drinking alcohol. The exception, of course, is on St. Patrick’s Day when everyone gets a free pass to do as they please. I still don’t know how that came about but you know the saying “when in Rome…”. On Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent, Catholics also observe the custom of not eating meat.

DSC_0376In our home, we typically eat fish once a week throughout the year. During Lent we eat it on Fridays. I tend to serve salmon because it’s a healthy protein, high in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for proper brain and heart function. My favourite places to buy salmon in Ireland are Caviston’s Food Emporium in Glasthule, Donnybrook Fair, and Marks & Spencer.

When it comes to recipes, Delia Smith’s roasted salmon fillet with a crusted pecorino and pesto topping is hard to beat. You may think pesto and salmon are an odd combination but the two together are just divine. As this is a dish I have been making for many years, I offer you the following three bits of advice: 1) supermarket pesto works better than homemade; 2) omitting the breadcrumbs from this recipe is fine; and 3) don’t substitute Parmesan cheese for Pecorino…it just doesn’t taste the same.

This simple salmon recipe is one I’m sure you’ll enjoy both during Lent and the whole year through.

Roasted Salmon Fillets with a Crusted Pecorino and Pesto Topping

Serves 4


4 x 5-6oz salmon fillets

2 rounded tablespoon finely grated Pecorino cheese

4 tablespoons fresh pesto sauce

squeeze of lemon juice

4 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs

salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste


1. Pre-heat oven to 230°C/450°F/gas mark 8.

2. Begin by trimming the fillets if needed, and run your hand over the surface of the fish to check that there aren’t any stray bones lurking.

3. Now place the fish on a baking tray that’s been covered with foil or parchment paper.

4. Give each fillet a good squeeze of lemon juice and a seasoning of salt and pepper.

5. Give the pesto a good stir and measure 4 tablespoons into a small bowl, mix a third of the breadcrumbs with it to form a paste and spread over the salmon fillets.

6. Then, mix half the cheese with the remaining breadcrumbs and scatter this over the pesto. Then finish off with the remaining cheese.

7. Place the baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, by which time the top should be golden brown and crispy and the salmon just cooked and moist.

8. Serve immediately with steamed new potatoes.

For more information about the Irish and Lent, please visit these websites: http://www.worldirish.com/story/22662-11-things-the-irish-will-give-up-for-lent-this-year


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