Salmon & Pasta Salad, with Preserved Lemons & Capers

Chinook Salmon

Chinook Salmon

By Cat, Dec 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also:  1. Fish and Seafood Menu; 2. Pasta (About)

Salmon is just about my favorite fish (after lutefisk), but I avoid Atlantic farmed salmon and stick with wild-caught Pacific salmon: sockeye, coho, and chinook/king salmon. I’ve not yet tried this recipe, but a Mediterranean-inspired salmon salad for a nice summer evening sounds heavenly to me.

Once upon a time, when I was growing up here in NW Montana, landlocked Kokanee salmon were plentiful summertime game-fish in our lakes. This freshwater salmon is a sockeye salmon that was unable to return to the ocean after swimming up the river, in our case, the Columbia river and its tributaries. Unfortunately, they were decimated by competition with non-native lake trout, after the addition of mysis shrimp to the lake in the 1980s (see (1) for more about this disaster).

 Salmon & Pasta Salad, with Preserved Lemons & Capers

This recipe is adapted from one by Alison Carter (2004) on the (2) website (originally Recipezaar). I’ve not yet tried it, but the combo of ingredients sounds wonderful; perfect for a summer evening when you don’t want to eat too much. The original serves 4; I’ve cut it down to serve 2.

Salmon steaks (as opposed to filets) are cut cross-wise, so you want a fish of pretty good size – a king (chinook) salmon is best. You will want the steaks about 1″ thick.

If you’re avoiding wheat or gluten, you will not want to use regular farfalle (bowtie pasta), and finding that shape made from other grains can be difficult. The medium shell shape will work, and is usually available in vita-spelt (not gluten-free), Ezekiel sprouted grain, or quinoa. Another option is to use steamed quinoa (preferably sprouted first) instead of pasta, about 2 oz, dry (or  ½ –  1 cup,  cooked) per person.

The original recipe is in grams for all the solid ingredients, so I’m guessing a bit on the amount of some of these, keeping in mind that 1 ounce = 28.34 grams. I’ve used three sources to help with the conversions:

  • All Recipes: Cup-to-Gram conversion (3)
  • Recipe Goldmine: Kitchen Charts (dry measures) (4)
  • Pastry Wiz: Cup-to-Gram conversion (5)

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • ½ preserved lemon
  • 4.5 oz (125 g) sugar snap or snow peas
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 king (Chinook) salmon steaks (4 – 6 oz each)
  • Unrefined sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp (45 g or 1.5 oz) capers, rinsed and drained
  • 4 oz farfalle (bowtie) pasta, measured dry
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill, leaves picked
  • ½ – 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (as dressing)
  • Equipment
  • cast iron skillet
  • large saucepan
  • plate


  1. Prep: Cut the flesh away from the rind of the preserved lemon and discard (or save for another use). Rinse rind under cold running water, then chop.
  2. Wash pea pods and remove the tough strip from the top edge (pull it off from the stem-end).
  3. Peel and mince garlic.
  4. Remove skin from salmon, brush with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook: Heat  ½ Tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add capers and cook, stirring, for 6 – 8 minutes or until slightly crisp. Lower heat to medium, add garlic and cook 1 minute more, or until aromatic. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  6. Add seasoned salmon to emptied skillet and cook over medium-high heat 3 -4 minutes per side to medium-rare or to your taste. Transfer to plate and set aside to cool slightly, then flake with fork, combining with the caper mixture.
  7. Meanwhile, cook pasta, uncovered, in large saucepan of salted boiling water according to package directions (al dente), adding peas for last 2 – 3 minutes to blanch – they should be a bright green and tender-crisp. Remove peas and shock with ice-water.
  8. Drain pasta and return to pan. Add caper mixture, flaked salmon, preserved lemon, dill and extra virgin olive oil. Toss well to combine, adjusting seasoning.
  9. Serve!


  1. Topics,com on Flathead Lake Kokanee salmon
  2. recipe: (originally
  3. All Recipes: Cup-to-Gram conversion (
  4. Recipe Goldmine: Kitchen Charts (dry measures) (
  5. Pastry Wiz Cup-to-Gram conversion (

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