Monday, July 25, 2011

Sustainable Seafood: Salmon ...

Plus: The "Back to Madrid" Sandwich

When I was in Madrid earlier this year, we stayed at the Husa Paseo del Arte. Right across the street was a little cafe where we ate breakfast each morning. And each day I had the same thing: a sandwich with salmon, brie, and some kind of tomato jelly on "home bread" (that's what they called it on the English side of the menu).

Because it's been so hot lately, most cooking adventures haven't appealed to me, but the other day I got it into my head to try to re-create that sandwich.

When buying salmon, if sustainability is important to you, you want to read labels. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, you should avoid most Atlantic salmon, and stick with wild Pacific salmon, especially the carefully-managed Alaska salmon. Luckily, at my neighborhood grocery, the smoked salmon was clearly marked with the species, location, and method of harvest, so I was able to make a sustainable choice.

But now... for the recipe. I looked for some kind of tomato jelly, but didn't find any. Instead, I used fig preserves, because I've found that fig goes well with several savory flavors. If you can't find fig, I would use a preserve with a rich, complicated flavor - stay away from your strawberry and grape.

"Back to Madrid" Sandwich

Ingredients for each serving:
a sandwich roll from your store's bakery; I used ciabatta, but you could use any type of roll that isn't too thick
3-4 slices of smoked salmon
brie, sliced thinly - enough to cover the bread
fig preserves

1) Slice the roll and spread on a thin layer of preserves. Then add the salmon and brie. Close up the sandwich.
2) I used a grill pan to create a makeshift panini press. Of course, you could use an actual panini press, or just bake the sandwich in the oven (at 350 until the cheese is melty and the bread is warm). Here's how I made my panini press (with apologies for the lame phone photos):
  • Spray olive oil on a grill pan and heat to medium-high.
  • Put the sandwich on the grill pan. Cover with a piece of tinfoil or wax paper and then put a heavy pan on top of the sandwich to squish it. I used a saucepan with a teakettle inside:
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes or until nice grill lines form. Flip the sandwich and cook for another minute or two.
And voila! You're done and you can take a little mental trip to Madrid.

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