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Salmon Crème Fraîche Pasta

Quick, easy and totally delicious – this crème fraiche pasta sauce with salmon, lemon and chives is a true weeknight winner. Made from fresh or frozen salmon it’s done in about the time it takes to cook the pasta prepping and chopping included!

a pan full of salmon creme fraiche pasta with chives in the background

You know I love pasta, right? But pasta can get heavy, and sometimes that’s not what I’m after. Enter: crème fraîche. A great way to lighten up a pasta dish without sacrificing taste. For this summery salmon pasta it’s paired with salmon, chives and lemon zest – for a fresh pasta dish that you will love having year round.

Why this recipe works

  • One pan only which makes cleanup easy, and keeps all that tasty salmon flavor in the sauce
  • Super quick and the sauce is done in the time it takes you to cook the pasta
  • Crème fraîche lightens the dish compared to using just cream, for a lighter, more summery pasta dish, and provides a nicely balanced acidity
  • A dash of cream however ensures the silkiness you expect from a delicious pasta sauce, and balances the acidity of the crème fraîche
  • Lemon zest adds loads of lemon flavor without making the dish sour, further adding to the lightness & summeriness of this dish
  • Chives are an unexpected, delicious, addition that adds even more “summer” to the flavor profile
  • Lemon pepper is always a good idea for salmon and an easy way to get an extra dose of lemon flavor in there

What you need to make this recipe

top down picture showing the ingredients needed to make creme fraiche salmon pasta

To make this crème fraiche pasta with salmon you need:

  1. Salmon, either fresh or thawed from frozen, and cut into bite-size cubes
  2. Chives that you chop
  3. Uncooked pasta, I like fusilli since it really grabs the sauce
  4. Butter to fry the shallots and salmon in
  5. Lemon zest to add lemon flavor without the acidity
  6. Lemon pepper to add even more lemon flavor
  7. Shallots that you peel and chop finely for a mild onion flavor
  8. Cream for silkiness
  9. Crème fraîche for a lighter sauce with a nice, balanced acidity

Expert tip 1: Butter can be switched for vegetable oil, for example olive oil.

Expert tip 2: Shallots can be switched for yellow or red onion, or leeks. The two former will give a sharper onion flavor, and leeks a lighter one.

Expert tip 3: Cream can be skipped (which will give a slightly more acidic dish) or substituted for milk.

Expert tip 4: If you have trouble finding crème fraîche or just don’t want to use it, you can switch it for cream instead. But then add juice of about half a lemon as well (for 4 servings of this recipe) so you don’t miss out on the acidity.

How to make salmon crème fraîche pasta

Start by cutting your salmon into bite-size cubes, zesting your lemon, and chopping your shallots and chives. Then get your pasta cooking.

process collage showing how to fry shallots in butter

To start the pasta sauce, place a pan over medium-high heat and add in the butter (1). When melted (2) add in the chopped shallots (3) and fry until softened, about 2 minutes (4).

process collage showing how to season and fry salmon cubes

Then add in the salmon cubes (5) and season with lemon pepper (6), salt (7) and ground black pepper (8).

process collage showing how to fry salmon cubes and add creme fraiche and cream to make a sauce

Mix (9) and fry until the salmon is cooked all the way, or almost all the way, through (10). Then add in the crème fraîche (11) followed by the cream (12) and mix. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes.

Expert tip 5: You can tell that the salmon is done when it starts to get flaky. Test it by pressing down on a piece of salmon with a spoon and if it flakes apart it’s done.

Expert tip 6: If you’re in a real hurry – you can skip the simmering and just bring the sauce to a simmer, and then go straight to step 13 followed directly by step 14.

Expert tip 7: Likewise, if you have the time you can let it simmer for a few minutes longer to allow the flavors to intensify even more.

process collage showing how to add lemon zest, chives and pasta to salmon creme fraiche pasta sauce

Then add in the lemon zest (13) and simmer for another minute. Mix in the chives (14), followed by the pasta (15) and you are ready to serve (16)!

Expert tips summarized

  1. Butter can be switched for vegetable oil, for example olive oil.
  2. Shallots can be switched for yellow or red onion, or leeks.
  3. Cream can be skipped or substituted for milk.
  4. Crème fraîche can be switched for cream, but then add some lemon as well for acidity.
  5. Salmon is done when it’s flaky.
  6. Skip the simmering to save time – it adds flavor but is not necessary.
  7. Or let it simmer for longer if you have the time – to add even more flavor.
top down image of a pan full of salmon creme fraiche pasta with a wooden spoon, and a chopping board with chives, a lemon and lemon pepper next to it

Frequently asked questions

What salmon should I use?

For this recipe you can use both fresh salmon filets and salmon filet that’s been thawed from frozen. You could also use smoked salmon instead, both cold smoked and hot smoked will be delicious in this dish.

What can I use instead of crème fraîche?

Instead of crème fraîche you can use only cream, but then add some lemon juice (from half to a full lemon for 4 servings of this recipe, depending on the size and juiciness of your lemon – taste test and see what you prefer!) as well to get some acidity in there.

Do I have to use both crème fraîche and cream?

No, you can use just one or the other, but see the tip above if you are using only cream.

Can I reheat this dish?

Yes, it’s delicious after reheating as well.

Can I freeze this dish?

Yes, you can freeze it. As always, make sure to thaw it slowly in the fridge before heating for tastiest results.

Other delicious crème fraîche pasta sauces

I love crème fraiche pasta sauces so it’s no wonder I have several more recipes. All of them can also be made with cream instead of crème fraîche. my favorites are:

a spoonful of salmon creme fraiche pasta on top of a pan full, with chives anda lemon on a chopping board in the background

What did you think of this recipe? Did you like it? Do you cook a lot with crème fraîche, or was it a new ingredient for you? Let me know in the comments below! And while you’re there… I’d love for you to leave me a rating as well!

Until next time, enjoy!!

Emmeline

side view of a pan full of salmon creme fraiche pasta with a wooden spoon

Salmon Crème Fraîche Pasta

Print Rate
Course: Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: European
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 651kcal

Ingredients

  • 280 g pasta cooked according to package instruction
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 400 g salmon filet cut in cubes
  • ½ Tbsp lemon pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ lemon zest only
  • 2 dl crème fraîche
  • 1 dl cream
  • 3 Tbsp chives chopped

Instructions

  • Heat a pan over medium high heat and add in the butter. When melted, follow with the chopped shallots. Fry until softened, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the cubed salmon and season with lemon pepper, salt and ground black pepper. Mix and fry for 2-3 minutes, until the salmon is evenly colored, flaky and cooked all the way or most of the way through.
  • Add in the crème fraîche and cream and mix. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Add in the lemon zest and zimmer for another minute.
  • Mix in the chopped chives and follow with the pasta. Mix well, take off the heat, and serve!

Notes

Top tips

  1. Butter can be switched for vegetable oil, for example olive oil.
  2. Shallots can be switched for yellow or red onion, or leeks.
  3. Cream can be skipped or substituted for milk.
  4. Crème fraîche can be switched for cream, but then add some lemon as well for acidity.
  5. Salmon is done when it’s flaky.
  6. Skip the simmering to save time – it adds flavor but is not necessary.
  7. Or let it simmer for longer if you have the time – to add even more flavor.

Frequently asked questions

What salmon should I use?
For this recipe you can use both fresh salmon filets and salmon filet that’s been thawed from frozen. You could also use smoked salmon instead, both cold smoked and hot smoked will be delicious in this dish.
What can I use instead of crème fraîche?
Instead of crème fraîche you can use only cream, but then add some lemon juice (from half to a full lemon for 4 servings of this recipe, depending on the size and juiciness of your lemon – taste test and see what you prefer!) as well to get some acidity in there.
Do I have to use both crème fraîche and cream?
No, you can use just one or the other, but if using only cream see the tip above as well.
Can I reheat this dish?
Yes, it’s delicious after reheating as well.
Can I freeze this dish?
Yes, you can freeze it. As always, make sure to thaw it slowly in the fridge before heating for tastiest results.
Nutrition Facts
Salmon Crème Fraîche Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 651 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 16g100%
Cholesterol 131mg44%
Sodium 441mg19%
Potassium 806mg23%
Carbohydrates 59g20%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 994IU20%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 109mg11%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate and automatically calculated, and should only be viewed as an indication.

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