Smoked Salmon Salad for Foodie Friday

I mentioned a trip to Seattle last weekend. Three good food things came out of that trip – Sammish Bay Port Edison (flora danica) cheese, pasilla de Oaxaca chiles from World Spice Company, and Duchilly hazelnuts from Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards. I’ve posted recipes featuring the first two things here and here. Here’s a recipe where you can use some wonderful toasted hazelnuts, preferably those that Holmquist produces. The nice thing about me finding these nuts was meeting someone with whom I spent about half-an-hour chatting about everything under the sun. That was nice – I told her she made my day. R. Jehn

Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad (12 February 2005)

This is a rare invention in the last six months (I’ve had “gourmet’s block” and a few other things going on that are described elsewhere in this book) that I found so tasty that I wrote it down. It makes a great Summer afternoon party dish when served chilled on ice. Or if you want it fancy for an afternoon tea or something, serve it over romaine lettuce leaves or mixed exotic greens in fancy, little bowls.

Mom and I decided we liked this recipe so well, that she made it again on 16 February (I asked her to do it to test the formula). It was perfect.

1 cup cooked fusilli/rotelli (corkscrew) pasta (a 3-way plain, tomato, spinach mix is great – colours add a good deal)
3 minced green onions
1 large stalk celery, diced
1/4 cup fresh, diced pecans (or chopped, toasted hazelnuts or slivered almonds)
6 to 8 ounces of your favourite smoked salmon (ours is Hama Hama Cajun Smoked Salmon *)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
6 tablespoons sour cream (you want flavour, not really fat)
1/4 teaspoon tabasco or to taste (I often add a bit more)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh shaved or grated Asiago cheese to taste (optional)

Fold together the pasta, vegetables, nuts, and salmon. In a separate small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients, then gently mix into the salad. If the dressing is too thick, add a little milk or water.

Chill for an hour to allow the flavours to blend. I thought to try the cheese on a bit of leftover salad the next day for lunch. In the first couple of tastes, I was skeptical, but it actually grew on me as I ate. I asked Mom to taste it with Asiago as well, and she loved it enough to add more cheese. I give you the option in the matter. Next time I want to try Gorgonzola cheese …

* Note: To make a semblance of the brand of smoked salmon I mention, use your favourite and rub it gently with a mixture of 1/8 tsp. cayenne, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, 1/16 tsp. thyme, and 1/8 tsp. Worcestershire. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for a day or so.

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