Poached Salmon Pasta Salad

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Mike has been on a real salmon kick lately, and I’m not going to complain since it’s better than him being on a lamb (ugh…lamb is not my favorite), chicken wing, or rice-with-every-meal kick (again).  Our favorite way to eat salmon is poached in salted water with onion, garlic, dill, bay, and peppercorn.  Cooked this way, we eat our salmon with a little drizzle of olive oil on top, usually with sides like asparagus and wild rice.  This meal is fantastic, being both delicious and healthy, but even so, variety is the spice of life and one night I wanted to switch it up a little.

I looked in my pantry and found what I think is the cutest little pasta shape ever (campanelle!), and the idea of salmon salad immediately came to mind.  I replaced half the mayo with Greek yogurt (but sour cream would work just as well) and then since it reminded me a little bit of lox and cream cheese, I added other ingredients that are normally found with this pair, like red onion and capers.

If you’re like us eat a lot of salmon and are looking for new ways to make it, this recipe is a nice change from the ordinary.

Poached Salmon Pasta Salad

(Yield:  Serves about 6 as a side dish)

8 oz (1/2 lb) small pasta, any shape you like (I used campanelle)

2 c chopped fresh broccoli

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, cracked

1 1/2 TB minced fresh dill (or 1 1/2 tsp dried dill), divided

1 bay leaf

8 oz (1/2 lb) salmon fillets

1 small red onion, minced

1 TB capers, drained, rinsed to remove excess salt, and chopped

1/2 to 2/3 c Greek yogurt or sour cream (more or less, depending on how creamy you like it)

1/2 to 2/3 c mayo (more or less, depending on how creamy you like it)

1 TB lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3 TB minced fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

Black sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.  During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add broccoli to cook along with pasta; drain and cool completely.

Put yellow onion, garlic, 1/2 TB minced fresh dill (or 1/2 tsp dried dill), bay leaf, and a pinch each of salt and pepper (or a few whole peppercorns) in a small skillet with a lid.  Add enough water to coat the bottom of the skillet by about 1 inch.  Bring water up to a gentle boil; add salmon and turn heat down to a gentle simmer.  Cover skillet and cook until salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork (about 5 minutes), being careful not to overcook.  Transfer salmon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain water; cool, then cut into whatever size pieces you want (you can flake it with a fork, but I just cut it into large chunks since it flakes a bit when you toss the salad anyway).

In a large bowl, combine remaining 1 TB minced fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried dill), red onion, capers, mayo, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, parsley, 1/3 tsp salt, and a 1/8 tsp black pepper.  Stir in pasta and broccoli, and then fold in salmon.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as desired.  Chill and sprinkle black sesame seeds on top before serving.

Cute Campanelle Pasta

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