Pasta with Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon doesn’t last very long in my house, but on those rare occasions when there is some left over from a Sunday brunch, this pasta salad offers a perfect vehicle to use it up.

Serves 6 to 8.

2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
¼ to ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 to 1½ pounds penne or other medium-size shaped pasta
8 ounces smoked salmon, cut in strips
1 small red onion, halved and cut in thin strips
1 red bell pepper, cut in strips
3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 cups mesclun greens

1. To make the dressing: Place the garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and vinegar in a blender or a food processor fitted with a steel blade and blend until smooth. Gradually add the oil and blend until emulsified. Add the cilantro and pulse to combine. (The dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance.)

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Rinse well with cold water until it is cooled. Reserve a little bit of the pasta water in case you need to thin the sauce.

3. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Add the salmon, red onion, bell pepper, capers, salt, and pepper, and toss well. Divide the mesclun among four plates, top with equal amounts of the salad, and serve immediately.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)