Every summer needs the perfect dish. This Pasta with salmon and lemon oil is the perfect ending to a hot summer day. You can make this dish and pack it for a work lunch or a picnic. You can serve this up for a relaxed date night in. It is simply elegant in it’s own way. It is a lighter dish so you can feel good about eating it and it fills you up without weighing you down.
The Lemon juice adds brightness to the dish and the olive oil smooths out the recipe and adds the perfect sauce to tie the whole thing together. If you are not a salmon fan you can certainly omit the salmon and substitute with either shrimp, Chicken breast or a different style of fish all together. Either way it is absolutely delicious. I would not recommend substituting with a heavier piece of meat such as steak however, You could if you want to. It is your kitchen. If you want to serve this as a side you certainly can. Just omit the protein and prepare as directed. You can also use rice or quinoa instead of pasta if you wish to do so. I have many times. It is such a versatile dish and you are going to love it. So let’s get right on into the recipe!
1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
FOR THE PASTA:
1 lb pasta (of choice)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
4 to 6 salmon fillets
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup spinach
- In a bowl combine the 1/2 cup olive oil and lemon zest. Stir and set aside for 1 to 2 hours. This is so the olive oil can infuse with the lemon zest.
- When ready bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat and add a handfull of salt. About 2 tbsp. Add your pasta of choice and stir. Cook the pasta until al dente. About 95% done. It should have a slight bite to the pasta and not completely soft. Remove about 1/3 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- In the meantime in a large skillet add about 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan over medium heat. Season your salmon with salt and pepper to taste and add skin side down in the hot pan. This will sear the skin of the salmon and flavor the fish as well. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Be careful when flipping the salmon over. When the salmon is cooked through remove to a plate and set aside.
- Turn the heat to medium low and add your onions and the other 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook until tender. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes. When the onions are tender add in your garlic and spinach and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pasta water and stir.
- At this point you can add in your drained pasta. Toss to incorporate the onions with the pasta. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and the lemon oil. You can strain the lemon oil if you do not want the lemon zest that is in the oil. After adding the oil, toss to coat the pasta with the sauce.
- Now you are ready to serve!
Now all you have to do is add the pasta to a plate and top with a salmon fillet and enjoy!
If you want to spice this dish up you can certainly add in some red pepper flakes with the oil and lemon zest before infusing OR you can add the red pepper flakes to the onions when cooking. I’ve done it both ways and enjoy them both.
Remember you can sub out anything in this dish like kale instead of spinach, chicken instead of salmon or shrimp, side dish instead of main dish just by omitting the protein. If you have odds and ends of pasta you can throw it all in the pan and cook it also. I have a jar that I keep my unused pasta pieces in. This is a great dish to use up those end pasta pieces. Either way it is outstanding. This is such a light and bright dish. I hope you enjoy it!