Every year my friend Jen (and her family) flies to her family’s home in Alaska for a week or more and goes fishing. They ship home what they catch and are able to eat/freeze the fish for the remainder of the year. When I lived in Portland, I was lucky enough to be privy to her fish-riches all year long. Now that I’m back in SoCal, I have to fly back to Portland to partake in Jen’s catch, which I was fortunate enough to be able to do this year. She held a salmon bake where she invited a bunch of friends and asked them to bring a dish to share. She made salmon and halibut (and some awesome freshly baked bread) to share.
As my sister and I were leaving the party, Jen slyly handed me some salmon she smoked herself–a gift she used to give me every year for my birthday. My face lit up when she handed me the packaged fish; I couldn’t wait to eat it. Previously I’ve used her smoked salmon to make a smoked salmon and brie (and egg) pie and smoked salmon dip. This year I couldn’t wait to come up with the perfect recipes to use with Jen’s famous homemade smoked salmon.
Since I’m a bit obsessed with tuna salad sandwiches (I probably eat one about once a week) and I try tuna melts almost everywhere I go, I thought smoked salmon would transition well into smoked salmon salad or a even a melty, cheesy open-faced sandwich.
I have a friend who strongly rejects the combination of fish and cheese to which I remind him that he loves lobster Mac and cheese. Not to mention McDonald’s filet o’fish sandwiches (soooo good). Or fettuccine alfredo made with shrimp or even scallops. And hello tuna melt! But he also hates salmon so he wouldn’t touch this dish with a ten-foot pole.
It turns out that I was right – you can turn smoked salmon into a salad or fashion it into a melty, cheesy open-faced sandwich. So if you ever have extra smoked salmon sitting around and you need some inspo, look no further than the below recipe.
- 1 ½ c. smoked salmon, chopped
- ¼ to ½ c. mayonnaise, adjust to preference (I prefer using avocado or olive oil mayo)
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (optional)
- ½ to 1 tsp. dried dill, adjust to preference (optional)
- black pepper to taste
- 4 pieces bread (I used brioche bread)
- avocado slices + lettuce + tomato + mayo (all optional) for each sandwich
- mild tasting shredded cheese + sliced tomato (to make a smoked salmon melt)
- In a small bowl combine salmon, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill; stir to incorporate. Add black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add salt, if necessary. (This should not be necessary because smoked salmon is traditionally salty.) Allow mixture to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight (if you have the time.)
- When ready to assemble, if using mayo, spread on one slice of bread. Top with smoked salmon salad, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, etc. if using. Top with remaining piece of bread. Cut in half and enjoy.
- To make an open-faced smoked salmon melt: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one side of the bread and place on a cooking sheet (buttered side facing down). Mound smoked salmon salad on the bread. Top with shredded cheese, thinly sliced tomato and a bit of freshly cracked pepper. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven. If desired top with some lettuce (like arugula) and even some avocado if you want to be real fancy.