This dish was hard to name because it has so many components! Really it should be named “sauteed salmon fillets with carmelized onions, lemon slices, and a sour cream and lemon sauce, all on top of a bed of pasta,” but that didn’t sound catchy enough. I made this recipe a few weeks back (original recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse) and I couldn’t wait to make it again. It has a wonderful mix of complex flavors that all work together in a truly fabulous way.
And since you’re probably wondering, no I didn’t forget about you for two weeks. Work has been a little hectic recently, and on top of that, I got a stomach flu! I figured you already know how to make toast and heat up a can of soup, so I didn’t have much to blog about. But I’m all better now, and anxious to whip up a few goodies before I leave for the Midwinter Research Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology in sunny San Diego! (This means I’ve officially entered the adult working world, I think. )
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned
- Emeril’s “essence” seasoning (recipe below)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil (total)
- 1 medium yellow onion, very thinly sliced
- 2 medium lemons, ends trimmed and sliced into very thin rounds
- 12 ounces pasta of your choosing (I used up my box of Acini Di Pepe)
To create Emeril’s essence seasoning, mix together:
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, and salt. Set aside.
Season both sides of the salmon fillets with the essence mix.
In a large skillet, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute until just starting to get translucent, roughly 3 minutes. Spread the onions out so they cover the bottom of the skillet.
Place the salmon fillets on the bed of onions, and lower the heat to medium-low. Put the lemon slices on top of the salmon, and cover and cook until the salmon is cooked through and the onions are caramelized. It should take 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on your onions to make sure they don’t burn. If you see them starting to, add a little water.
While that’s going on, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of EVOO and a pinch of salt. You may want to add 1/4 cup sliced scallions to the pasta for color and crunch, but I left them out.
Spoon the warm pasta onto a large plate. Place the salmon, sauteed onions, and lemons on top of the pasta, and top with the sour cream sauce. Drizzle the whole thing with EVOO and garnish with fresh parsley.
These pictures don’t do this dish justice (the green plate was a poor color choice, I’m afraid). I’m a big fan of salmon and I’ve cooked it a million different ways, but cooking it on top of the onions and under the lemons, and covering the pan while it cooks really locks in the flavor and moisture.
When you get a bite that includes all of the flavors (don’t eat the lemon slices, obviously. Those are just there to look fancy at this point) it’s like heaven. To me, there’s nothing better than a perfectly cooked, juicy piece of fish, and the astringency of the lemon sour cream sauce is a wonderful companion for the creole seasoning on the salmon.
The next time I make this I will add the scallions to the pasta for a little bit of texture, but there really isn’t anything I would change about this recipe. It’s simply divine. And although it has a lot going on, it really isn’t difficult to make at all!