Despite a rather strange combination of ingredients – mustard, oregano, avocado and Spanish Serrano ham – this pasta salad has a very unique yet delicious flavour. It is the kind of recipe that looks like nothing about it should work, yet weirdly it does.
A family member of mine saw this “recipe” on Spanish TV. Please don’t ask me where or by whom it is, I have no clue. All I received was a random note, that made for a horrible shopping list. I had no measurements whatsoever. Looking at the list I thought that it was a joke, who in their right mind would combine these strange ingredients? Mustard with avocado and Spanish ham on pasta just sounds weird. The only reason I ever bothered making this was that I had everything on hand and I had bought way too many avocados. Who can resist four avocados in a net for 1.50€? I should considering that I have no idea what to do with them unless I am making guacamole. Anyway, as I was making it I was questioning that decision. It looked like an absolute disaster, surprisingly it turned out to be delicious. It even kept its flavour hours later, which isn’t a given when it comes to pasta salad that often loses its flavour as you leave the room. With a few adjustments I will absolutely make this again.
Pasta Salad (Ensalada de Macarrones)
*denotes changes to the original “recipe”
- 250 gr pasta (penne or something else) (*originally 500 gr)
- 1 tbl olive oil
- 2-3 tbl red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp mild mustard
- black pepper
- 1 tsp oregano (* reduced from 1 tbl)
- Parsley (dried or fresh), chopped
- 1 avocado, ripe yet hard, diced
- 2 tomatoes, cubed
- 1 1/2 bell peppers, various colours (*replacing grilled paprika)
- Black olives
- (*corn from the can, skipped)
- 2 slices of Serrano ham (optional to make it vegan), sliced into smaller pieces
1. Boil the pasta al dente in well salted water. Drain them and drizzle a little olive oil on the to keep them from sticking together. Leave them to cool.
2. Mix the dressing in a salad bowl by stirring together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and oregano.
3. Add the cubed avocado to the dressing first and add the tomatoes on top to keep them from browning.
4. Add all the missing other ingredients except for the ham and stir it together until everything is covered with the dressing.
5. Taste it to make sure it doesn’t require any more seasoning, add whatever is needed and stir it before adding the ham.
6. Add the serrano ham on top and don’t stir, as it turns an unappetising colour due to the acid in the dressing.