The starter from Henry’s birthday meal
The sauce, before being mixed with pasta
On Sunday it was a mild, windy day and we (Mum, Izzy and I) walked along the beach and the pier at Southwold on the coast of Suffolk, where notably, I ate the best fish and chips of my life last summer (haddock). The sun was out intermittently, and the sea was exceptionally beautiful.
Just before leaving we popped into the smokehouse on the bank of the fast flowing river Blyth that divides Southwold and Walberswick and, thinking of my brother’s birthday supper the next night, bought some sweet, lightly smoked prawns, hot and cold smoked salmon and a side of (unsmoked) cod from the fishmonger next door.
The first instance we used the smoked fish was to make a loose pâté with lightly pickled ribbons of cucumber and prawns left whole, with toast (see above). The cod was cooked to a very, very good recipe from Claudia Roden’s ’Book of Jewish Food’, which was spicy and delicious (garlic, harissa, tomato paste, ground toasted coriander and cumin, juice of a lemon, water, and poach the fish gently on top, garnish with fresh coriander).
However, there was lots left over and also using the only sweetcorn we harvested from the garden this year, I made a sauce for pasta which went down well and involved very little cooking.
P.S. Blythburgh church, which is near Southwold, is exquisite.
3-4 very small shallots, diced finely (or fewer, larger shallots)
a handful of smoked prawns (or fresh, or omit and just use salmon)
3 tablespoons of roughly chopped, smoked salmon (or a bit more if you are omitting prawns)
½ glass of wine
½ glass of pasta cooking water (extracted when pasta is ready)
3 tablespoons of creme fraîche
1 tablespoon, chopped dill
1 tablespoon, chopped chives
fresh sweetcorn cut from 1 small cob
pinch of cayenne pepper
How to make:
In a knob of unsalted butter cook the diced shallots on a lowish heat until soft and translucent. Add the corn and cook for a 5 minutes or so on a low heat, taking care not to brown. Add the wine and cook off the alcohol for a few minutes on a low heat. Put your well salted pasta water on to boil, weigh out 100g pasta / person if this is a main course.
Add the creme fraîche and the fish and the herbs and a pinch of cayenne and allow to bubble on a low heat for a few minutes. If you are using fresh raw prawns, make sure they are pink all the way through. Taste for seasoning – be wary of adding too much salt before tasting as the fish is salty. Add salt and pepper as appropriate.
This can happily sit there for a few minutes while the pasta cooks. Just before mixing the two, stir in ½ glass of pasta cooking water. Toss with the cooked pasta. Serve into warm bowls. Do not serve with cheese.
Green salad, good white wine.