The Perfect Sandwich
Lox seems to have a monopoly on the salmon sammie, or so you'd think from the menu of every single café in the city. I love lox as much as the next New Yorker, but I also love the luxurious texture of broiled, baked or poached farmed salmon, leftover from the Chef's feasts.
It's always a bonus for me when the Chef buys a little more than a pound of salmon and our daughter announces she's not showing up for dinner. I know I'll have just enough the next day to layer on an oval-shaped small ciabatta or if there's a really tiny amount, the smaller square ciabatta rolls I get in a bag from Trader Joe's. Salmon is subtle, so keep things simple. I toss in a few arugula leaves, maybe a dash of mayo or a sprinkle of olive oil on the top side of the bread. In the square version pictured here I think I used some of the Chef's salsa verde.
Salmon Three Ways
So in order to have a salmon sammie, you have to have the leftover salmon. Here are three ways the Chef cooks salmon in our house, and, I have become quite adept in the first way, which is my go-to dinner when he is out of town.
1. Crusty Seared Salmon
For about a pound or less of salmon filet, grind up a tablespoon each of coriander, fennel and cumin seeds with about a teaspoon of whole Malabar black peppercorns (sometimes I do the peppercorns separately by putting them in a baggy and smashing them with a hammer on the cutting board. It's a great way to relieve frustration). Heat an iron skillet on high heat and pre-heat your oven to 450. In the meantime sprinkle sea salt and pat half the ground spice mixture onto the flesh side of the salmon. When the pan is hot enough, smear in a little olive oil to cover bottom, put fish in crust side down and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Your smoke detector will likely go off. Then put the iron skillet in the top rack of the blazing hot oven for 3 minutes. Take it out and peel the skin off the fish. it will come off like a dream! Pat the rest of the spice mixture on the now de-nuded skin side of the salmon and flip and put back in oven a few minutes until done.
2. Baked Salmon with Roasted Red Peppers and Capers.
The next is a Marcella Hazan recipe, Baked Sockeye Salmon with Bell Peppers and Capers, but you don't have to use Sockeye. Set aside some of the peppers and capers to drizzle over the salmon for your sammie.
3. Poached Salmon
With the weather hotting up, poached salmon is a godsend. And so simple. Throw some carrots, slices of lemon, bay leaves, peppercorns and slices of fennel into a wide saucepan with enough water to cover the salmon filets. Let broth come to a simmer and add salmon and just BARELY simmer until fish is done. You can let the fish cool in the liquid. Elizabeth David recommends serving simply with mayonnaise on the side (not Hellman's!).