Lemony Crème Fraîche Pasta With Trout Roe

December  1, 2021
4 Ratings
Photo by Melina Hammer
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

When I don’t have much time but want something that feels special, I often turn to crème fraîche or trout roe. These are small luxuries with a big payoff. In this recipe, I use both for a pasta that’s beautiful, delicious, and ready in a jiff. A specialty of France, crème fraîche is like sour cream’s sophisticated cousin. It’s richly creamy, with just a little tanginess. (If you can’t find it in a store, did you know you can also make your own? With just heavy cream, buttermilk, and a little time—learn how to here.) Trout roe literally glows. It brings sweet-briny flavor to anything you add it to, with a bursting, wonderful clack against the teeth. You can find trout roe at specialty markets or some fishmongers. But if you can’t find it, salmon roe works, too—just add a bit less, since it’s punchier. Field garlic is a wild ingredient that grows in so many places. From yards to parks, it grows in shaggy clumps like chives (which make a great substitute). To test, tear a stem and smell it. If it smells like garlic, bingo. With the landowner's permission, harvest it with scissors. And while I love angel hair for its delicate chewiness, spaghetti, linguine, or other long pastas work equally great.
Melina Hammer

What You'll Need
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the water
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 6 ounces (¾ cup) crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped field garlic or chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 (2.8-ounce) container trout roe
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs, roughly torn or chopped
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, finely grate the zest of the lemons and add to a large bowl. Halve one of the lemons, squeeze out 1 tablespoon of juice, and add to the zest.
  2. When the water is boiling, generously season it with salt. Boil the pasta according to package instructions for al dente. When it’s almost done, reserve about ¾ cup of the pasta water—we’ll use this for our sauce.
  3. Use tongs to transfer the noodles to the bowl with the lemon zest and juice. Add the crème fraîche, field garlic (or chives), salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Add ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water and toss again, adding more water as needed to yield a glossy, satiny sauce. Add half the trout roe and stir to incorporate.
  4. Divide the pasta between 4 shallow bowls. Spoon the remaining roe on top of the pasta. Garnish with the dill, plus more field garlic (or chives) and black pepper.

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Melina is the author of 'A Year at Catbird Cottage' with Ten Speed Press. She grows an heirloom and pollinator garden and forages wild foods at her namesake Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. Melina loves serving curated menus for guests from near and far seeking community amidst the hummingbirds, grosbeaks, finches, and the robust flavors of the seasons.

1 Review

janwear January 3, 2023
I made this using imitation salmon roe, and I liked it, but I think there is an error in the recipe. 6 ounces of crème fraîche seems like way too much for 8 ounces of pasta. So if you're making this, add the creme fraiche (or substitute sour cream) in smaller amounts until things seem creamy enough. Maybe you'll end up wanting that much, but once I got to around 4 ounces it already seemed like too much for that amount of pasta - it looked much creamier than the picture too so maybe the recipe has the wrong amount.

I also didn't need the zest of two whole lemons. I zested only the half-lemon that I used for the lemon juice, and I found it to have enough of a lemon taste.

I would make this again with less creme fraiche.