In the last few months I have been focussing mostly on new culinary adventures, using earlier neglected vegetables, legumes (ahoy puy lentils!) and soyproducts, and on learning new techniques. But the time has come, my friends, to start a new project. Sometimes I will succeed, sometimes I'll have to take my defeat as a self proclaimed kitchen heroine, but there is no way around it. It is time to start veganizing some of my own 'before-vegan' staple dinners. There are a few dishes I always used to come back to, in times of no inspiration, lack of time or because I had guests coming over and wanted to stay on the save side. Or mostly, because I wanted to crawl into their loving comfort food arms and purr like a pussycat.
One of those dishes was a pasta dish that simply asked for sour cream, mushrooms, smoked salmon and a heap of fresh dill. And pasta, ofcourse, otherwise ceci ne'st pas une pasta dish. A difficult one to veganize, for googling 'vegan smoked salmon' did NOT get me a lot of ideas, other than creating 'vegelox', which involves carrot pulp and dulse (seaweed) flakes and did not sound all that appealing. So I decided not to substitute the actual salmon, but to use the combined flavours of the original dish as a starting point. Please give a big hand of applause to smoked tofu, salicornia and oat cream. And yes people, I can truly say, my first veganizing mission was more than accomplished. I hit gold. (and future dinner guests, you will know I love you if I decide to serve you this)
Vegan 'smoked salmon' pasta
1 block of smoked tofu (200 gr)
250 gr brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 red onion, minced
2/3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 hands salicornia (about 1 1/2 cup)
250 ml of non-dairy cream (I used oat cream and that worked out great)
white wine (optional)
1 large bunch of fresh dill
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 portions of your favourite pasta (I used spelt penne)
Slice the tofu into thin strips, about 1/2 cm thick and then cut them in half. Fry the tofu strips in sunflower or coconut oil until goldenbrown on either side and season with some seasalt and black pepper. Take them out of the pan and place on plate covered with kitchen towel. In the same pan, use the remaining oil to sautée the chopped garlic, onion and mushrooms over medium heat. In the meanwhile, boil up some of your favourite pasta. Add the non-dairy cream to the mushrooms (and some white wine if you really want to get this dish a gold medal) and bring to a soft boil. When your pasta is almost finished, add the salicornia, fried tofu strips and chopped dill to the sauce and season with black pepper and salt to taste. You won't need a lot of salt because of the natural saltiness of the salicornia. Serve on top of the drained pasta and finish off with a squeeze of lemonjuice. Try and find your marine-themed plate to make it look even more fishy and EAT!