Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Salmon Pasta Salad for a Summer Lunch

Salmon Pasta Salad is one of our family's favorite meals. Woodley grew up eating it and he shared his mother's recipe with me soon after we started dating. We've been making it together ever since. It's quick and easy to prepare and makes a great lunch or dinner. Although we enjoy it all year round it's an especially nice meal on a hot summer day when you don't feel like doing much cooking. 

Salmon Pasta Salad 
1 1 lb. box fusilli pasta
2 lemons 
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil 
a bunch of fresh dill (roughly 1/4 cup chopped)
4 scallions
a package of smoked salmon (the flakey kind, not the lox style) {I believe 5 to 8 oz. work well but I can't remember exactly, I usually use all of one package that has a piece of fish that is roughly 2 inches by 4 inches}

1. Begin by boiling a big pot of salted water for the pasta. While you wait for the pasta water to boil, squeeze the juice from 1 and 1/2 lemons to make a little bit more than 1/4 cup of lemon juice. 

{I had a lot of fun juicing my lemons using this neat Jadeite juicer I recently found at an antique store. It worked very well!} 

2. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil along with about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a bit of pepper until the mixture is well blended.

3. When your pasta water boils, cook the fusilli according to the directions on the box. When the pasta is done, strain it through a colander to remove the hot water and put the pasta back in the pot. Cover the pasta with cold water and allow it to sit for a minute or two. Strain the pasta again and repeat this process until the pasta is cooled. Once the pasta seems cold to the touch, strain it one last time and stir it into the lemon juice and olive oil mixture.

4. Wash and chop 1/4 cup of dill along with the green parts of the 4 scallions. Add them both to the pasta mixture. {I like dill a lot so sometimes I add more if I have extra.}

5. Open up the salmon package and peel off the skin from the back side of the salmon. Next, chop the salmon into bite sized (or slightly smaller) pieces. If it looks like your salmon has bones in it, use your fingers to break the salmon into bite sized pieces while carefully removing the bones. Add it to the pasta mixture and stir it up until it is well mixed. 

6. The salmon adds quite a bit of salt to the mixture so wait until you have mixed it in to do a final taste test. Adjust the seasonings by adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice. 


For lunch yesterday I made this batch of salmon pasta salad and served it along with a fruit salad (left over from breakfast), boiled corn, and potato salad (from the grocery store). It made a great summer lunch that didn't take long to toss together. (Now that I think about it, watermelon would have been a great addition to the meal though. I'll have to include it next time!)


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