The food of our childhood is back in vogue, but it’s been rehabilitated – made from scratch, not a box or a can. One of my favorites to get this treatment is tuna noodle casserole.
A while back I found a recipe for tuna noodle casserole redux on the Food52 blog. As I was looking at the ingredients, I thought, why not make it with canned salmon instead? Canned salmon is cheap, and it’s wild, not farmed, another plus.
I started with the Food52 recipe as a guide, made my changes and ended up with my new salmon noodle casserole recipe. It was delicious, packing a lot more flavor than the typical tuna noodle casserole.
You could use regular white mushrooms instead of portobello and shiitake mushrooms, but I prefer the shiitake/portobello combination for its flavor. If you don’t have dry vermouth in your cupboard, no worries, add a little white wine instead, or skip it entirely. My mother’s tuna noodle casserole always included peas, so I added them here too, plus peas go well with salmon in a springtime kind of way.
Salmon Noodle Casserole
You’ll need a large pan, medium bowl, whisk, 8- or 10-inch square baking pan and a small pan.
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup diced portobello mushrooms
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1/2 tablespoon fresh, minced
- 1/2 or more tablespoon minced chives
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1-1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- Few grates of nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 14-15 ounces canned salmon, drained
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 8 ounces ziti, cooked until al dente and drained
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup panko
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat, cook mushrooms, onion and celery together for about 4 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic, cook 1 minute, or until golden. Stir in the chopped herbs and the vermouth and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat butter in the pan until foaming. Stir in the flour to make a roux and cook, stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes. You don’t want it to darken too much but you do want to get rid of the floury taste. Then whisk in the combined milk and chicken broth, bit by bit, to make a smooth sauce. Cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, another minute or two. Add nutmeg, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Flake the salmon (watch for and remove boney bits) and add it to the white sauce along with the mushroom-onion mixture, peas and pasta. Stir to combine it all together. Grease the baking pan and transfer the mixture into it.
In a small pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir in the minced garlic and the panko breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until the garlic and panko is golden/tan. Add parmesan cheese, mix it in and sprinkle this all over the casserole. Put the casserole in the oven and bake until it is bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Adapted from: Tuna Noodle Casserole Redux, Food52
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