This salad is a great one to bring to a holiday potluck, because it is rather elegant, but also very low in fat. The taste is pretty swell, too.
8 ounces fresh salmon fillet (skinless)
¼ cup Pernod (only if you have it)
Zest of one lemon, finely grated or chopped
½ a lemon
8 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
1 pound pasta
¼ cup fresh, chopped tarragon
½ cup fresh, chopped parsley
1 small shallot, minced
½ cup Hellmann’s mayo
Thick, low fat buttermilk
Sea salt to taste
White pepper to taste
Prepared horseradish (optional)
1) Place a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. In a separate pan, poach the salmon fillet: Place into a large, shallow pan, just cover with water, add in the Pernod (if using) and ½ lemon, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook very gently until just cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.
2) Toss the pasta into the large pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions. While you are waiting for the pasta and salmon to cook, chop everything else up and mix the mayo with about ½ cup buttermilk (make sure to use the very thick type). Remove the salmon from the poaching liquid when it is done, set aside on a plate to cool, then break up into large-ish flakes.
3) Drain the cooked pasta then run under cold water until completely cool—drain again very well. Pour the pasta into a large serving bowl and pour over the mayo/buttermilk mixture and toss in all the ingredients you just so lovingly chopped. Toss well, taste and season with salt, pepper and horseradish (if using) and pour over more buttermilk until it is as creamy as you like (it will never be as creamy as a completely mayo-based pasta salad, though). Stash in the fridge until ready to serve.
Can be made up to a day in advance. Serves 12-16 buffet portions.