Looking for an easy yet entertaining worthy pasta salad recipe? Elevate this Risoni Salad with the saltiness of the hot smoked salmon and the delicious flavours of crab meat.
What is Risoni?
I always tell my daughter risoni is Italian rice! Well, I’m not far from the truth as its an Italian pasta, also known as orzo, that is shaped intentionally like rice.
Risoni is fantastic in soups such as minestrone where all you do is add the risoni 10 minutes towards the end and serve. I of course love risoni in my salads as they are so versatile and you’re only really limited by your imagination as to the combinations you can come up with. Have a look at these risoni salad alternatives: Risoni with Spiced Roasted Butternut Pumpkin and Edamame Pasta Salad with Asparagus.
Difference Between Cold and Hot Smoked Salmon
Most of us are accustomed to eating cold smoked salmon which is the thinly sliced, silky smooth textured salmon. The smoking process is essentially having the salmon being exposed to smoke and it’s the temperature of the smoking that determines if one is cold or hot.
The low temperature smokes the salmon to the point where it is much more similar to the texture of salmon that has been through a curing process.
Hot smoked salmon on the other hand is smoked at higher temperatures and has a texture that resembles more of a cooked piece of salmon where its flesh is flaky with meaty chunks.
There are so many easy smoked salmon recipes out there and you’ll find they don’t need a lot to create a delicious salad. They stand out on their own quite well. Couldn’t resist creating this salad as well: Asian Pear Salad with Soba and Hot Smoked Salmon.
How Do I Buy Crab Meat?
Don’t let the crab meat put you off from this recipe. I’m not expecting you to buy fresh crabs, cook them and then painstakingly extract the meat from it. Well, you certainly can but there really is no need.
Crab meat can easily be found in the fish section of your supermarket and of course in the seafood section of your local market. I recommend that you buy cooked crab meat as they are usually pasteurised through steaming or boiling to kill off the bacteria. They can be found in plastic containers in the fridge or over ice.
Its my preference that you don’t buy frozen meat for this crab pasta or canned crab meat. You just never know if additives have been added, how much of it is actually real crab and it certainly won’t be suitable for a fresh salad.
Why I Love Risoni Salad with Hot Smoked Salmon and Crab
This hot smoked salmon recipe is super easy and oh so tasty! It’s such a crowd pleaser, even with the kids and it makes for a great meal on its own. I love the saltiness of the hot smoked salmon and for seafood lovers, that crab meat is simply yum.
Best of all, I love that I can make this salad the day before as it keeps so well. This will allow you to get a little adventurous with your main course if you’re feeling like you might like to try something a bit more time consuming and challenging.
How to Make Risoni Salad with Hot Smoked Salmon and Crab
How to Make Garlic Infused Olive Oil
There is no dressing as such for this salad but rather its folded through with olive oil. I wanted to however infuse it with garlic. I find that garlic on its own throughout the salad is too overpowering but I love its pungent flavours.
To give the salad a subtle hint of garlic, chop the garlic and fry in a small fry pan. Remove from the heat just before it turns brown and add the cooked garlic to 6 tsp of olive oil.
Leave it for 30 minutes at a minimum to allow it to infuse. If you can do it overnight, even better.
How to Prepare Risoni Salad
Whilst the dressing is infusing, you can prepare the salad.
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add some salt and pour in 4 cups of uncooked risoni pasta. Cook for about 8 minute or until al dente. Don’t overcook it as it will just end up as a big pile of mush. Drain the risoni and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set it aside and let it dry up as we are not after a wet pasta salad.
Get the hot smoked salmon out of the packet. If it comes with the skin, remove it as we don’t want that cold fat in the salad. Crumble it between your fingers and set aside.
With the crab meat, if it’s in a bit of brine, drain it. If some pieces are a bit large, tear them apart to make them into smaller pieces. Well, at least around the same size as the hot smoked salmon.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Try and get a medley of tomatoes to give this pasta salad some colour.
Then dice the onion and caramalise in a fry pan.
Chop the parsley.
How to Assemble Risoni Salad
Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Pour in infused olive oil. It is up to you if you wish to add the actual garlic into the salad.
Mix thoroughly and serve. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper.
This salad can be served in a bowl or a flat serving platter.
And there you have it! A simple risoni salad elevated by salmon and crab to give it that extra oomph! You can definitely eat this salad on its own as a meal or as a worthy accompaniment to any great meal. Enjoy.
More Seafood Salad Recipes:
- Baby Cuttlefish Salad with Green Papaya
- Pomelo Ceviche Salad
- Lobster Tail Salad with Mango Dressing
- Beetroot Cured Salmon Salad with Black Fish Roe
- Prawn and Fennel Salad with Yuzu Jam Dressing
Easy Salad Dressing Recipes:
Risoni Salad with Hot Smoked Salmon and Crab
Salad Dressing (do this first)
- 8 tsp olive oil, divided
- 2 garlic clove
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Chop the garlic. In a small fry pan, add 2 tsp of olive oil. On medium heat, fry the garlic for 1 minute before it turns brown.
- Add cooked garlic with 6 tsp of olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Let it infuse for 30 minutes.
- Whilst dressing is infusing, bring a medium sized saucepan of water to boil. Add salt. Pour in 3 cups of uncooked risoni and boil for 8 minutes or until al dente. When cooked, drain in a colander and run under cool running water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- If hot smoked salmon comes with skin on, remove and discard. Crumble the salmon into small pieces.
- If crab meat comes in large pieces, tear them into smaller pieces.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Dice the onion and fry in a small fry pan with 2 tsp of olive oil until caramelised. Set aside to cool.
- Roughly chop the parsley.
- Add all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the garlic infused olive oil into the salad. The garlic is very strong so you can choose to only add the oil or add some of the garlic into the salad.
- Season well with salt and pepper.
- This salad keeps extremely well and can be kept overnight so it’s a perfect side dish to accompany a complicated main course. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving so it’s at room temperature. Dress it when you’re ready to serve.
- If you’re not able to get crab meat, it may be substituted with prawns or scallops. It can also just be eaten with hot smoked salmon on its own.
- This is a great risoni recipe for a stand-alone meal or packed for lunch the next day.
- Use gluten free risoni to make this salad coeliac friendly