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salmon and avocado pasta salad with tomato and garlic dressing


salads can be such a disappointment. if each of your ingredients isn’t full of flavour, or the dressing is to sharp, or the mix of flavours and textures not thought through, then you can end up with a difficult dish to eat – it never ceases to amaze me how hard it can be to work my way through a plate of salad!

thankfully the opposite is also true and with a bit of imagination and effort summer salads are truly wonderful. for me i find that the secret to success is often in the dressing or something similar which brings the flavours together. basil oil is an example of such a star ingredient, and not just in salads (see below for recipes which use it).

in this dish the secret to success was the decision not to add cherry tomatoes to the salad but to lightly cook them with garlic and then stir in olive oil and lemon juice to make a rich tomato and garlic dressing. this really bought everything together in a way that a vinaigrette wouldn’t have managed. it was also a good excuse to add some pasta to bulk out the salad.

this dish is my contribution to presto pasta nights, as hosted by gay, a scientist in the kitchen.

salmon and avocado pasta salad with tomato and garlic dressing (serves 3-4)

1 tablespoon olive oil plus extra

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

200g cherry tomatoes, halved

juice of 1 lemon

salt & pepper

200g peppered salmon*, flaked

250g cooked pasta, i used penne

2 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into bite size pieces

100g rocket

heat the olive oil and gently fry the garlic until you start to smell it. add the tomatoes and cook until they start to collapse. remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. add extra olive oil until you get a salad dressing with the balance of flavours which you like (i tend to use c1/3 lemon juice and 2/3 olive oil). season to taste and set aside.

assemble your salad – mix the salmon and pasta together with the tomato and garlic dressing. add the avocado and rocket.

* i used a fabulous sainsbury’s taste the difference vacuum-packed salmon which had been cooked and topped with a layer of (i think) crushed pink peppercorns and chilli. this was jam packed with flavour and worth tracking down if you can. if not use any sort of cooked salmon or even peppered mackerel.

recipes with basil oil:

Reader Comments (13)

i love salmon and avocado - combining both = a delish dish. Looks great!
July 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMeeta
Gently cooking the tomatoes and garlic, etc. was the thing to do. It does add a depth to a dish that just tossing with oil and vinegar does not. Looks great!
July 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commentervictoiria
This salad looks great! I'm going to remember the technique for the tomatoes!
July 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpam
i'm glad you all like the look/sound of it!

definitely remember it pam! these little cherry tomatoes had loads or flavour but it'd be good for rescuing less flavoursome tomates as well.
July 11, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
This sounds so good! Pasta salads are so wonderful in the summer time, and I've never heard of one with these ingredients before. Thanks!
July 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
What a fantastic salad! I love the idea of cooking a vinaigrette. This one is definitely bookmarked. Thanks for sharing with PResto Pasta Nights.
July 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRuth
thanks sarah, ruth - i hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think if you try it.
July 20, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
I've just discovered your blog whilst looking up pork recipes and just wanted to say that I think your site is great. I can see that I'll be looking to you for inspiration a lot in future. This salmon and avocado salad sounds lovely. ...No prizes for guessing what's on the menu around here tonight then! Thank you for this. :)
July 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJayne
Haven't tried the avocado and pasta combination yet. This sounds great.
July 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGay
Had this last night and it was *delicious*. I can also see that this idea for dressing will probably be adapted for use in other ways.
July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJayne
hi jayne, i'm really glad you like the blog. and 'tis even better that you liked the salad! phew!

gay - it was a first time combination for me and it really did work well.
July 22, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
We just ate this & it was really very nice indeed, thank you.
August 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPip
oh, i'm glad you liked it pip! we've had it a few times now and it is good.
August 4, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby

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