Sometimes I leave work exhausted with no desire to cook anything for dinner. I just want to pick up something on my way home. And there is one thing that I love, something that never disappoints me and always leaves me satisfied: the smoked salmon pasta salad from Whole Paycheck. I know it is ridiculous, but I just love it. Different Whole Foods locations make this differently. Fine, I confess I’ve probably had this at every single Whole Foods store in DC. Some locations make it with mayo, some make it with olive oil, some cook the veggies, and some don’t. This is my version, and yes, it is way cheaper to make it at home than to buy it pre-made.
I made some smoked salmon for April’s charcutepalooza challenge (more on that on my charcutepalooza post on Friday), it came out buttery, perfectly smoked, and it just melts in your mouth. I hesitated to make smoked salmon at home in a stove top smoker because I was afraid it would overcook and turn into fully cooked, hot smoked salmon. I really wanted the texture of cold smoked salmon. So with a little tlc and a very low flame I was able to get the texture of store-bought cold smoked salmon. I don’t think I’ll be getting pasta salad from the store for a very long time.
Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
Serves about 4
• 8 ounces farfalle pasta (about 2 cups)
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• ½ small red onion, sliced
• ½ small red bell pepper, chopped
• 3 tablespoons mayonnaise*
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon dill fronds, chopped
• 3 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
• 1 tablespoon pitted and sliced black olives
1. Cook pasta according to package directors to al dente. Rinse with cold water.
2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet heat olive oil and sauté red onion and red bell pepper until it softens slightly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, and smoked salmon. Add pasta, veggies, and black olives. Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.
*If you don’t want to use mayonnaise, you can make this with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil instead of the mayonnaise and maybe a bit more lemon juice.