Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wasabi Salmon Sandwiches

The Scene: Saturday evening. Feet up. Encouched.
The Game: Scattergories. Three-minute version.
The Letter: W.
The Category in Question: Things You Bring on a Picnic.

The Conversation, Verbatim:
Husband: What did you put?
Me: Wasabi salmon sandwich. You could totally bring that on a picnic.
Him: Ooooh.
(thoughtful pause)
Me: In fact, I kind of want one.
Him: Yeah.
Me: Like, now.
Him: Yeah.
(thoughtful pause)
Him: What are we doing for dinner tomorrow? 
Me: Making wasabi salmon sandwiches?
Him: That is correct.

2 smallish salmon filets (5-6 oz each), carefully deboned
1/2 tsp grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped or pressed
Kosher salt
Black sesame seeds
Olive oil
1 tsp wasabi powder*
1 tbsp very good quality mayonnaise or aioli**
1/2 bunch watercress, leaves separated, washed, and dried
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 ciabatta rolls, sliced in half (or sub slices of ciabatta or a french boule if necessary)

Sprinkle both sides of the salmon lightly with salt, then place skin side down on a plate. Sprinkle the top of each piece with ginger and garlic, and press them lightly into the fish with your fingertips. Last, sprinkle the same side liberally with black sesame seeds.

Mix the wasabi powder with just enough water to form a thick paste. Add the mayonnaise, stir well to combine, and set in the fridge.

Toss the watercress with the rice wine vinegar and set aside.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. When hot, lightly drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Add the salmon, skin side down, and shake the pan back and forth to make sure it doesn't stick. Cook for several minutes until the skin is golden brown and the salmon looks cooked about a third of the way up the side.

Flip the salmon, and cook for 2-3 minutes more until the top of the fish is very lightly golden (but not long enough for the garlic to brown).

Flip back skin side down, and check for doneness (we recommend medium-rare). If it's not done yet, cover the pan, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for a minute or two more. Remove from the heat just before it's cooked enough (it will cook more as you serve it and carry it to the table).

To assemble the sandwich, spread each piece of bread lightly with wasabi mayonnaise, then sandwich the salmon topped with watercress in between. Cut in half, and serve immediately.

Serves 2. Pairs extremely well with sauteed beet greens, St. Supery's 2011 Virtu (available right now at Costco), and Nina Simone.

*Whole Foods has Sushi Sonic, a freeze-dried version made with real wasabi that tastes entirely different from the horseradish-mustard concoction often used as a substitute.
**Also found at Whole Foods: Sir Kensington gourmet scooping mayonnaise; also well worth seeking out.

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