with Tomato-Parmesan Linguine

For some of our professional cooking classes in UCLA Extension's Culinary Arts program, we are given final exams that involve what's called a "mystery basket". You show up, you're given a little basket of ingredients or a list of ingredients, and you have to create something using at least everything you're given. And it had better be good.

For my final exam in my first quarter at UCLA, my instructor, Chef Blake Machamer, handed me a little slip of paper that said, "Salmon. Starch. Vegetable." Here's what I did. I got an "A".

By the way, the vegetable was yellow squash sautéed in butter with fresh garlic.

Brush each salmon filet on both sides with olive oil.

Sprinkle both sides of each filet with fresh Creole seasoning, using about a teaspoon for each side of the filet.

Grill filets until just cooked. Be careful no to overcook the edges (I did, and got a few points taken off). If necessary, leave the middle a little more rare, and carry-over cooking will complete the center after the fish is taken off the grill.

To serve: Place about 4 ounces of linguine with tomato-parmesan sauce on each plate. Top fettuccine with salmon filet. Garnish each plate with about 2 tablespoons brunoise of bell pepper.

YIELD: 8 servings


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)