Pasta With Salmon, Crème Fraîche and Capers

We’re only two days in, but July is off to a steamy start! So, this month, we’re featuring easy three-ingredient pastas ideal for hot summer nights. First up, Katie from Katie at the Kitchen Door shares her recipe for rotini with salmon, creme fraiche and capers. Doesn’t it look incredible? Here’s how to (quickly) cook up a bowl of your own…
Pasta with Salmon, Creme Fraiche and Capers
by Katie Morris of Katie at the Kitchen Door

July is not the month to be spending long hours in the kitchen (although I should probably write that down and hang it up above my stove to remind myself). Instead it’s a good month for simple dinners that can be whipped up in 15 minutes or less, allowing you to spend more time outside enjoying the daylight—or languishing in front of the AC, if that’s more your style. So I’m thrilled to share this easy combination of smoked salmon, crème fraîche and capers.

I decided that smoking my own salmon was absolutely necessary, negating the whole principle of simplicity. (In my defense, the end result was glorious, and at least smoking is something you can do outside on the patio with a beer in hand.) That said, you certainly don’t need to go that route to enjoy this delicious and summery pasta! Store-bought salmon will work just fine.

The combination of salmon and crème fraîche make this pasta very rich, but if you’re looking to take things a step further, a little lemon, a handful of blanched English peas, or a small amount of finely-chopped red onion certainly wouldn’t go amiss in this recipe.

Recipe: Pasta with Salmon, Crème Fraîche and Capers
Serves 3-4

What you’ll need:

½ lb fusili or rotini pasta
½ cup crème fraîche
1 tbsp capers
6 oz smoked salmon, flaked into bite-sized pieces with a fork
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Cook your pasta according to package directions in heavily salted water. Drain, and let cool slightly. (You want your pasta to be warm but not steaming when you mix the crème fraîche in, so that it coats the pasta but doesn’t melt completely.) When it reaches this warm stage, add the crème fraîche to the pot and stir to coat the pasta. Stir in the capers.

When ready to serve, spoon the pasta onto three or four plates, and top each with 1 to 2 ounces (about ¼ cup) of smoked salmon pieces. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. This dish can be served warm, room temperature or chilled.Thanks so much, Katie!

P.S. More best recipes, including four fall pastas and the secret to great sauce.

(Photos and recipe by Katie Morris. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for her help with his series)

  1. I just made this tonight and it was delicious. I typically don’t make nice dinners for myself since I live alone, but with only a couple ingredients, it was worth the splurge!

  2. I’d choose The Big Cheese, fantastic package! I signed up for their newsletter.

  3. Thanks Katie!!

  4. This looks soooo good!

  5. Although I know zilch about Brooklyn, I wanted to wish you good luck! You guys seemed to enjoy your new apartment but I’m sure you’ll fall in love all over again. And how exciting to explore a new neighborhood! Moving is tough but you’ll make it through with flying colors.

  6. After reading this post I happened to be in the supermarket and came across smoked salmon. And creme fraiche happened to be right next to it. I took it as a sign and bought both to cook this up soon. :)

  7. Sounds so simple & tasty! I rarely mix pasta with salmon (thinking: have I ever?), but I will absolutely be trying out this recipe this week. Love the idea of serving cold for lunch. Thanks for sharing!


  8. That looks so yummy, but even with side dishes that would not be enough food to feed 4 people in my house. We usually do that much fish per kid and my husband could easily eat twice that if he was hungry. I make 1lb of pasta as a general rule. Plus green beans. Plus salad. It looks like a great recipe, but it wouldn’t feed both of my kids after a long day of summer camps.

  9. I’ll definitely be making this soon!

  10. Probably worth mentioning that you want to use cold smoked salmon which is more firm so it can be flaked unlike lox or whatever you buy to put on a bagel that has a more slippery texture.

  11. @Meadow – Yes, sour cream would be good, but use a little less or mix it with heavy cream, as it’s more sour. Also, you can really easily make your own creme fraiche: just add 2 TBS of buttermilk to 1 cup of heavy cream, cover, and let sit at room temperature until thick, about 12-18 hours!

  12. Yum! I just bought salmon last night so will be trying this.

  13. Ah, this has me looking at the clock to see if it’s lunch time yet. Good call with simple pasta dishes for July. That was my thinking last night when I whipped up a quick dish of bucatini (you know, that wonderfully thick spaghetti), bacon, goat cheese and an easy chili-tomato sauce. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Could you substitute sour cream for creme fraiche? I ask because you can’t actually find creme fraiche anywhere in my city here in Canada (I’ve looked). :(

  15. Katie! This looks great and love seeing you on A Cup of Jo! Your photos and recipes are always top notch!