Nothing speaks to me of spring like a salmon salad. It’s light and pretty and herby, and when you add pasta it becomes a real meal. It’s also quite portable, so you’ll want to think of this when you’re envisioning lunch at your desk the next day, or when you’re invited to a potluck event. And talk about easy to make. Poach the salmon. Boil the pasta. Puree dressing. Dump everything together and you’re good.
I speed chill the salmon by popping it in the freezer for a few minutes. But if you have more time, you certainly could poach the salmon the night before and refrigerate it until ready. Likewise, the pasta also could be cooled briefly in the freezer, spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet (or similarly prepped the day before).
Some people really, really love cilantro, and some people really, really hate it. It’s actually a genetic thing. For some people, it tastes soapy or otherwise unpleasant. So this recipe — with its creamy cilantro dressing — clearly is for the lovers, and not the dish to make if you’re not sure about your audience. I love it (obviously, I guess), and I love this dressing. But if you’d rather lose the cilantro, feel free to substitute fresh basil.
PASTA SALAD WITH SALMON AND CREAMY CILANTRO DRESSING
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2-pound salmon fillet, bones removed
1 pound cavatelli or elbow pasta
For the cilantro sauce:
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus extra to garnish
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (or another 1/4 cup mayonnaise)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper
Nutrition information per serving: 710 calories; 290 calories from fat (41 percent of total calories); 33 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 90 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 59 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 41 g protein.
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