Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Unboring" Salmon Casserole

This post goes out to my dear friend Renee. I will forever think of her as the source for this following recipe. She will tell you differently. Not sure why I am convinced that this was her recipe, but to this day, 12 years after first having made this, I still think of it as hers. She will tell you that she has never made tuna casserole. We'll agree to disagree, but I think you will have to agree that this is a pretty darn good casserole. My husband and son get pretty excited when it's on the weekly menu.

I call this a "pantry" recipe. All the ingredients required for the basic recipe are kitchen staples. Over the years I have fancied up this basic budget meal. Firstly, I make it with canned salmon instead of tuna. You get a good dose of omega-3 and I prefer the taste of the salmon over the tuna. Feel free to use tuna if you would rather. The second major change was adding tarragon. Tarragon has a licorice flavor that I think goes really well in this dish and elevates it to a respectable meal. So don't brush off this recipe. Try it at least one. I bet it will start making a regular appearance on your weekly menu!

Salmon Casserole

Serves 3-4

1 cup elbow macaroni
1/4 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tbs unsalted butter- melted
1 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped shallots or onion (whatever you have on hand)
3 Tbs unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 Tbs chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
6-9 ounces canned salmon, drained and flaked

Preheat oven to 375

Combine bread crumbs and 1 Tbs melted butter- set aside

Cook noodles according to package al dente (6-7 minutes)- drain and set aside

Meanwhile, melt 3 Tbs butter over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add celery and shallot and cook until tender. Add in flour, cook for about 1 minute then add milk and stock, herbs and salt. Cook, stirring, until thick.

Add noodles and salmon to the pan and stir to combine.

Transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with bread crumb/butter mixture and bake for 20 minutes.