We have a new favorite restaurant near us in the little town of New Castle California. It is called La Fornaretta Restaurant. It is an Italian restaurant, authentically Sicilian. If you live in the area, check it out. Last night we met friends there for dinner and I had the salmon special. It was a lovely dish of salmon smothered in freshly cooked tomatoes, calamata olives and capers in a white wine reduction served with spinach. It was divine. 2 of the gang had stuffed pork chops over polenta and spinach while one other had the Tutto Mare, a seafood medley over linguini. All were very impressed.
When we got home from church and shopping today, I couldn’t get that salmon specialty out of my head. I know it’s November 2nd but my garden is still gifting us, so I headed to the garden and gathered up some red and yellow tomatoes, a few small onions, some basil, a couple of red bell peppers and a big bunch of Swiss chard.
I needed to come up with a recipe that would satisfy my craving for La Fornaretta in between visits. This concoction did the trick. We sure loved every bite. Even though there are a lot of ingredients, it was fast and super easy. I hope this becomes one of your favorites too.
Now when I cook, I don’t really measure much of anything. For example when I say to put in 2 teaspoons honey, you don’t have to make a sticky mess measuring it out. Just eyeball it. Go with your gut. Trust that you will do just fine.
Pan Seared Salmon over Swiss Chard with White Wine Beurre Blanc.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
2 small red bell peppers, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
8 cups Swiss chard, cleaned and chopped
1 handful fresh basil leaves
¼ cup calamatta olives, sliced
2 teaspoons capers
1 can cannelloni beans
Salt and pepper to taste
4 pieces of salmon fillets
Salt and pepper
½ pound penne pasta
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup white wine
The juice of one lemon
½ teaspoon tarragon
6 tablespoons butter
A pinch of crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons honey
Start your pasta water to boiling with salt and just a bit of olive oil while you prepare your vegetables to cook. Once you’re ready to cook the vegetables, put your pasta in boiling water and cook for 9-10 minutes until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a large deep pan heat the olive oil and add the onions and bell peppers. Sauté until softened. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes soften and become juicy. Salt and pepper the layers. Add the Swiss chard and the basil leaves, cover and cook on medium heat until the Swiss chard is very tender. Stir in the calamatta olives and capers. Add the beans and stir. Turn of the heat and add the cooked pasta to the mixture and cover with a lid to keep warm
Sprinkle salt, pepper and granulated garlic on your salmon fillets. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a hot pan and add the salmon fillets. Cook at medium/high to get a sear on the salmon and watch for them to cook about 1/3 of the way through. Flip the salmon over and let it cook about 1/3 of the way through again. Remove the salmon from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm. (The thickness of the fillet will determine cooking time)
In the same pan that the salmon came out of and while still hot, pour in the white wine, the juice of a lemon and the tarragon. Let it reduce to about 1/3 cooking on medium/high heat. Add the butter and crushed red pepper. Stir to incorporate until silky smooth, then add the honey and stir just a bit longer. Remove from heat and add to the pasta/Swiss chard pan and mix everything together.
Scoop the Swiss chard/pasta mixture onto the center of a plate and place the salmon on top. Sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.