Nigel Slater's pasta with smoked salmon and peppercorn butter recipe

The recipe

Boil 150g of small, short macaroni in deep salted, boiling water. Meanwhile melt 50g of butter in a small saucepan. Drain 2 tsp of bottled green peppercorns and rinse them, then add them to the butter. Shred 100g of smoked salmon into thick strips. Drain the pasta, tip it back into the pan, add the peppercorn butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, and then the smoked salmon. Serve immediately.

The trick

Keep the butter at the point where it is soft and opaque rather than clear and totally liquid. The salmon should be tossed in at the last minute, so it doesn't "cook". The lemon is important to bring the flavours to life. Use brine-bottled green peppercorns.

The twist

Use smoked mackerel instead of the smoked salmon. Try capers instead of green peppercorns. Add dill or tarragon to the butter. Use ribbon pasta, such as fettuccine or pappardelle, instead of macaroni.

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