Friday, July 17, 2015

ChezCindy: The BEST Salmon BLT

Copper River Salmon season has brought reason to pull out all of my favorite salmon recipes.  This one is a keeper found in a food magazine years ago.  Simply the best salmon BLT sandwich we have ever had.  The secret is in the proper layering of the ingredients.  I know that statement sounds like a sandwich geek, but I really believe it makes a difference on all sandwiches.  There are quite a few steps to this sandwich, but the end result is worth it. 

The original recipe called for raw red onions.  I changed that to caramelized onions for a sweeter layer with less onion bite.  These can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer.  I like to make a large batch to have on hand as they are great for use in many other recipes - burgers, quiches, and chicken sandwiches are a few ideas.  You can also make the lemon-basil mayonnaise ahead of time. Choose a thin store-bought sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm.  I use Sockeye salmon for the sandwich as it has a more even thickness.  Ask your fish monger for the thinner pieces. 

Salmon BLT
Lemon-Basil Mayonnaise
2 4-ounce skinless salmon fillets
6 bacon slices
caramelized onions
tomato slices
lettuce leaves
4 slices thin white sandwich bread

(Makes 2 sandwiches)

Make the Lemon-Basil Mayonnaise:
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced into ribbons
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Combine all ingredients into a small bowl.  Stir to combine.  Chill until ready to use.

Make the Caramelized Onions:
2 large sweet onions
1 large red onion
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons white wine

Thinly slice the onions to yield about 4 cups. Working with a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter and oil.  Once the butter is melted, swirl to combine.  Add the sliced onions, salt and pepper.  Stir to coat the onion with the butter-oil.  After about 10 minutes on medium heat, turn the heat down to low.  Cook on low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Turn off the heat.  Deglaze the pan by carefully adding in the white wine.  Stir to combine, bringing up any bits of browning from the bottom of the pan.  Turn the heat back on to low.  Continue cooking until the onions are golden brown and have collapsed into soft strands.

Pan-Sear the salmon
 Rinse the salmon and pat dry with paper towels.  Place a large non-stick pan over high heat.  Allow the pan to become very hot.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over the salmon; sprinkle salt and pepper over the salmon.  Carefully place the salmon flesh side down into the hot pan.  Don't move or flip the salmon for about 5 minutes.  You will see the salmon changing color from the pan side moving up.  You want a dark colored sear on this side of the salmon.  When this side is fully seared, a spatula should easily slip under the salmon so that it can now be flipped onto the skin side.  Cook this side for about 2 minutes.  Remove from the pan. 

Cook the bacon slices until crisp.  Set aside.
Toast the bread.  Set aside.

Putting it all together!
For each sandwich:  Spread the lemon-basil mayo onto one slice of toast.  Top with 3 slices of crisp bacon, 2 slices of tomato.  Top the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of caramelized onions.  Place the salmon on top of the onions; add lettuce leaves.  Cover with the remaining slice of toast.  Cut in half and serve with plenty of napkins! 

Wine Pairing:  Rose Sparkling Wine

ChezCindy: Old Fashioned Carrot Salad

Old Fashioned Carrot Salad
Traditionally, when making carrot salad the carrots are grated.  In this recipe I recommend an updated cut for the carrots.  Grating the carrots can create a mushy salad.  Shaving the carrots into ribbons yields a more palette pleasing texture, as the ribbons hold their shape better than the small grating.  The dressing is mayo, with lemon to brighten the flavor, just a hint of onion from thinly sliced green onion tops, and plump golden raisins.  That's it.  Pretty simple, but oh so delicious.  Ready for your next picnic or lunch box snack.
Old Fashioned Carrot Salad
2 lbs. carrots
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 scant teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion tops
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
Begin by cleaning the carrots, removing a thin outside layer with the vegetable peeler.  Lay the carrot on the cutting board.  Place the peeler at the top of the carrot, pulling it across the length of the carrot to make a long thin ribbon.  Pull several ribbons across this side, then rotate the carrot to make ribbons from 4 "sides" of the carrot.  Your carrot will end up looking like a long funny square with a knob at the top. 
Make the dressing in a large bowl by placing the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, sugar, salt and pepper in the bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Add in the carrot ribbons; toss together with the dressing to combine.  Sprinkle in the green onions and raisins.  Stir to combine.  Chill until ready to serve.