Yep.  More asparagus.  I can’t help it, though, I just love the stuff!  And, as I’m trying to eat and cook more seasonally, timing is very limited.  So, as you can imagine, the rest of the year I set aside yummy-sounding asparagus recipes so that, when spring arrives, I can indulge and downright WALLOW in my favorite veg. 

Today, I was originally planning on doing a nice, slow-cooked shoulder of lamb, but the sunny warm weather (which is going to be the last for this week) called for something else.  Something light, something that will reflect the last of the sunshine.  So, I went for a luscious pasta that used the sharpness of capers and a bit of lemon to keep the creaminess of the sauce from being too heavy.  Plus, the addition of plenty of parsley and asparagus give it a healthy and fresh taste.

When asparagus is out of season (woe!), you could easily substitute a cup or so of cooked peas from frozen.  Or, if you don’t particularly like smoked salmon, a little chopped grilled chicken would be good, too!

Linguini with Smoked Salmon and Asparagus

  •  1 lb linguini
  • 1/4 lb smoked salmon, cut into small bits
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup medium-chopped parsley
  • 1/2 lb thin asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup cooking liquid
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • drizzle olive oil
  • black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Cook the asparagus in lightly salted water until just cooked, then immediately plunge into a bowl of ice-cold water to stop the cooking and keep the stalks bright green.  Drain then cut into one-inch pieces and set aside.  Bring a large pot of salty water to a rapid boil, then cook the linguini until done al dente.  Before you drain, set aside 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain.  Mix the zest, and 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, creme fraiche and a good drizzle of olive oil in the warm pot, then pour in the drained pasta and toss to coat.  If it’s too dry add a little more cooking liquid – keep in mind, this dish isn’t a heavy sauce – it is just a light coating, a touch of flavor on the noodles, letting the salmon and asparagus take center stage.  Then, add the capers, parsley, salmon, and asparagus and toss well.  To serve, squeeze a little lemon juice over the dish, a good grind of black pepper and a light grating of Parmesan (not too much or the dish will become too salty).