Smoked Salmon and Green Heirloom Tomatoes in a Brown Butter Cream Sauce ((over Campanelle))

Smoked Salmon and Green Heirloom Tomatoes in a Brown Butter Cream Sauce ((over Campanelle))

I cannot express the full magnitude of deliciousness – but I will try to give you a sliver of an idea. The first bite stole the words right out of my mouth. The synapses in my brain stopped working for a minute. When they started back up – all I could think of was how much more was left in the pan & how could I make it all mine. ((really)) The smoked salmon is so tender and buttery, the green heirloom tomatoes are firm and sweet with a lovely zip of tomato goodness. But wait – that’s not all! 


I feel like I should be tying to sell you something for $19.99, haha! One of my favorite parts of this recipe is the fact that I found a great use for my dill weed blossoms. Every summer at this time my dill goes to seed and shortly after, starts to die. There must be a way to extend the life of dill – but I keep forgetting to ‘google’ it.

Let me share a few tips for incorporating dill weed blossoms into cooking:

  • rinse the pollen off of the flower heads before chopping – leaving the pollen on the dill will add a gritty texture to your cream sauce (and that would be bad)
  • finely chop the dill blossoms – I mean VERY finely. This will also help prevent a gritty texture
  • that is all


The very best part of this recipe? The Brown Butter Cream Sauce is made with low-fat evaporated milk, 4 oz of light cream cheese & a scant 2 T of butter, much more figure friendly than the typical cream sauce. I have used this trick for years and shared it with you in several recipes including: Sun Dried Tomato & Chicken “Faux-fredo” with Cheese Ravioli & Cream Cheese Verde Chicken Enchiladas.  


The evaporated milk holds up well to the rolling boil needed to fully incorporate the light cream cheese. In order to lighten a cream sauce, your first inclination may be to replace the cream with a low-fat or milk – maybe even skim. Do NOT do it!! It is IM-Possible to achieve a thick & creamy sauce (like this one below) using a lighter milk.


Milk, especially skim and 2%, is notorious for ‘breaking’ AKA ‘curdling’ when brought to a boil. In other words, high temperatures cause the milk proteins (which normally repel each other) to separate from the other components in the milk (mainly sugar, water & fat) and clump together with, resulting in a permanently gritty textured sauce (yuck). Hey, 25 hours of college and graduate chemistry finally paid off!!


These firm green heirloom tomatoes are a real treat in this sauce. They add a bit of crunch and the flavor, sweet and tangy, a perfect complement to the lemon zest and the smoky salmon.


 At the very last minute, after the pasta has cooked and is draining – add the green tomatoes, herbs & salmon. ((Actually – next time I will add the green tomatoes & herbs, simmer on low for a minute – then turn off the heat and add the salmon. It broke down a bit more than I would like.)) Stir gently, taking care that the salmon doesn’t break down too much.


One important item that didn’t make it into the ingredient party pic – my mini bottle of Chardonnay. Once the cream cheese and evaporated milk combined with the browned butter, I thinned the sauce a bit by using 3-4 oz of Chardonnay. If you don’t have Chardonnay on hand, reserve some of your pasta water to thin the sauce – it works beautifully.


Smoked Salmon & Green Heirloom Tomatoes in a Brown Butter Cream Sauce over Campanelle
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
598 calories
27 g
156 g
28 g
56 g
14 g
396 g
1320 g
11 g
0 g
11 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 598
Calories from Fat 246
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28g
Saturated Fat 14g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 156mg
Sodium 1320mg
Total Carbohydrates 27g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 11g
Protein 56g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 (scant) T salted butter
  2. 4 oz light cream cheese, softened to room temp
  3. 1 12 oz can of evaporated milk (I used 2%)
  4. zest of one lemon
  5. 4 oz parmesan cheese, hand-shredded
  6. 3-4 oz Chardonnay (or 3-4 oz reserved pasta water)
  7. 3 T finely chopped dill (I used the blossoms)
  8. 1/3 c roughly chopped Italian parsley
  9. 2 green heirloom tomatoes, seeded & diced*
  10. 1 package of high quality smoked salmon
  11. fresh cracked black pepper
  12. 1 package of Campanelle pasta, prepared according to pkg instructions
  1. In a medium or large sauce pan over medium-high heat, brown butter (this will take 2-3 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium and add cream cheese and milk. Stir with a which until cream cheese is completely incorporated. Add lemon zest & parm - stirring until combined. Thin the sauce using Chardonnay or reserved pasta water to desired thickness. Add herbs and tomatoes, bring sauce back up to a low simmer, for 1 minute. Turn off heat and add the salmon, tearing the salmon into 3" pieces. Gently fold the salmon into the sauce taking care to keep it in big pieces.
  2. Pour sauce over individual servings of Campanelle.
  3. Serves 4.
  1. *Save the tomato seeds & dry them. You can stick them in the freezer and get a head start on acquiring next year's seeds for the garden!
Food for a Year:
This one is as good as it looks — my mouth is still watering!

In true show & tell form: "I am open for questions & comments"