If you're looking to take your macaroni salad game up just a notch, look no further than one of my favorite ready-to-eat ingredients: smoked trout. When smoke is added to this mild-mannered fish, exciting things happen to everything it's served with, including good ol' fashioned creamy macaroni salad. Throw in a few handfuls of crunchy celery, tart apple, and some chives for good measure, and you've got the next backyard potluck, barbecue, or picnic covered.
Why Smoked Trout?
Think of smoked trout as smoked salmon's more down-to-earth cousin. It's not as expensive, a bit milder in flavor, and plays really nicely with creamy elements like yogurt and mayonnaise. Most smoked trout is hot smoked, so the flesh flakes easily away from the skin — great for folding into macaroni salad.
Greek yogurt and vinegar add a nice bit of tang to the mayonnaise-based dressing, while a touch of Dijon mustard helps to round things out. Many macaroni salads have sugar, which I feel is totally unnecessary when you can load it up with crunchy celery and tart green apple instead. Fresh dill and chives, which perfectly complement smoked fish, are also thrown into the dressing for extra flavor. Mac salad needs a bit of time for the flavors to meld after it all comes together, which means this a great make-ahead side dish to bring to your next outdoor gathering.
Smoky Trout Macaroni Salad
1 pound dried elbow macaroni
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces smoked trout fillets, skin removed and flesh flaked (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup small-dice celery (from about 3 stalks)
1 medium Granny Smith apple, small dice (optional)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
1 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until tender. Meanwhile, make the dressing.
Place the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the trout, celery, apple if using, dill, and chives, and gently stir to combine; set aside.
Drain the macaroni, rinse under cool water until cooled, then drain well again. Add to the bowl of dressing and gently stir to evenly coat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.