While in Alaska last month, the chefs prepared a mac and cheese made with surimi (artificial crabmeat made from Alaskan pollock and other ingredients). The mac and cheese was to die for. Surimi really isn't my thing, so I thought I'd use canned salmon in my mac and cheese instead. I've never eaten canned salmon before, but after trying pink salmon in Alaska, and finding it to be quite delicious, I was ready to be adventurous and try it out -- plus it's a great way to add some additional protein to the meal. This mac and cheese can be made with or without the fish; I think it tastes great either way.
Salmon Mac and Cheese
makes 8-10 servings
16 oz. 100% whole-wheat pasta, such as macaroni or small shells, cooked and drained
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons 100% whole wheat flour
2 cups organic skim milk
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1 can wild-caught pink salmon (bone- and skin-free), drained and forked into small pieces
1. Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it has melted, turn the heat up to medium-high and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking until all the flour is incorporated. After about one minute, whisk in the milk. Continue whisking as the mixture begins to bubble. Whisk for about five minutes more, or until the mixture has thickened. Remove the sauce pot from the heat.
3. Season the sauce mixture with a pinch of salt, red pepper flakes, and ground nutmeg. Stir in the shredded cheddar.
4. Stir in the cooked pasta and salmon.
5. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days, or you can freeze the leftovers to enjoy later.