Frequent reader here know I live in the Seattle area and of course we are some of the foodiest foodies out there. One of those things that converge here is the foodie thing and seafood, namely Salmon. Most of the Alaska fishing fleet is actually from the Seattle area. They moor their boats here in downtown Seattle and during the Salmon season we gorge on it for the couple of months that it comes in fresh from Alaska (and our own rivers here in WA state too!). People in Seattle will talk endlessly about how they make their salmon. When the first salmon are caught up in Alaska there is a huge buzz here in Seattle and it’s all over the news. Chefs rush to be the first in the city to fly a bunch of salmon back to Seattle to cook at their restaurants. It’s all a lot of fun! I could easily see this Salmon and Asparagus in a Lemon Cream sauce recipe being offered at a local restaurant around that time. Asparagus is also in season when the Salmon are running, around the beginning of May. In fact, one of our favorite meals in May and June is Grilled Salmon and Grilled Asparagus! When things are that fresh, it doesn’t get much better!
I saw this new frozen seafood item in the freezer box right after New Year’s day and picked up a bag of it. Right away I was glad to see that they were using wild Sockeye Salmon in a dish. (One little secret I’ll tell you is that while many people go right for the King Salmon when it’s fresh and in season, we generally buy Sockeye salmon during the season. Sockeye in general has more flavor and has a higher fat content. Visually, Sockeye is generally a more intense red color. The fish are smaller and must be more plentiful because it is much cheaper than King.) Anyway you cut it, Salmon is generally expensive and I’m surprised to see it at Trader Joe’s like this. They could take the easy route and get farm raised Atlantic Salmon. In my not so humble opinion really sucks, but is cheaper and generally worse for the environment.
Seeing that I love Salmon and Asparagus, I took a bag home and had it for lunch! The bag had two methods of preparation on the back, microwave and skillet. Usually for this meal in a bag type of product, I opt for the skillet or oven when given the choice. The results are usually better. I fired up my large skillet and opened the bag. Inside was a bunch of frozen fusilli and asparagus. In a separate pouch was some frozen cooked salmon. According to the directions, dump a couple tbs of water into the skillet then the pasta and cook for few minutes then put the salmon in and heat it up. It took about 10 minutes total. I was trying to be gentle and not break the salmon into itty bitty pieces. Next time less stirring and put a cover on and let the salmon cook until warmed through for bigger chunks.
I plated the dish and I noticed that the asparagus looked a little wilted, but I really like the way the salmon looked and the way the sauce had come together and looked on the pasta and fish. I took a bite and the pasta came off a little mushy, not al dente like home cooked pasta. The asparagus was mushy too. The lemon creme sauce was rather pleasant. I was wishing for a little more lemon flavor. The salmon was probably the best part of the dish. It had a good firm salmon texture and the flavors were good. Nothing fishy or anything like that. After I took a couple of bites, I did grind a little bit of pepper on top and that jazzed it up a bit.
For what it is, this ain’t half bad. Maybe microwaving it was the way to go to keep the pasta and asparagus from getting soft. The flavors were pretty good. Tasting it I thought about how far we have come in the past 15 or so years since I was a bachelor and finding interesting ready to eat meals like this was tough. I don’t know if I would buy this again, but I might so Becky and I could have something quick and healthy to eat in a rush.
I’m going to mark it down a couple of points on the mushy pasta and asparagus, but the sauce wasn’t half bad so….
I’m going to rate this Pasta in a Lemon Cream Sauce with Sockeye Salmon and Asparagus 7 bells!