Sunday, November 7, 2010

Not your mother's Tuna Noodle Casserole

I understand nostalgia for the hot dish that mommy used to make when you were growing up, but divorced from the good memories, Tuna Noodle Casserole is actually terrible. A few years ago, it occurred to me to take this 1950's relic and remake it into something I would feed to my child, never mind set in front of company. This lemony, creamy salmon casserole was the result.

1/2 lb. farfalle, cooked al dente according to package directions
3/4 lb. skinned salmon filet, sauteed until just done and then flaked into largish pieces
2 C. Bechamel, or white sauce*
Zest of 1 lemon, minced
1/2 C. creme fraiche, or sour cream
2 C. cooked petite peas
3 T. fresh dill, minced (reserve 1 T for garnish)

Stir the lemon zest into the creme fraiche, and then add it and the dill to the white sauce. Cook the noodles and then transfer to a casserole that has room to mix in the other ingredients. Pour the sauce over the noodles and fold gently. Carefully fold in the salmon and peas so as not to break it up the fish too much. Sprinkle with reserved dill. 

A main dish this rich needs some contrast:

Bitter greens with honey mustard dressing

1 small head radicchio, thinly sliced
1-2 endives, thinly sliced
Handful of frisee, torn

Make a simple vinaigrette with 2 T. vegetable oil, 2 T. lemon juice or white wine vinegar, 1 t. Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Add at least 1 T honey and whisk. Taste and add more honey or mustard to taste. Pour over the bitter greens and serve immediately.

Both dishes will serve 4.