Back when I used to occasionally find myself at a McDonalds, during the “Happy Meal” years, the Filet-O-Fish was my meal-o-choice. Never a big fan of burgers (with the exception of the “World Famous Huey’s Burger” in Memphis, TN) I will always prefer a sandwich like the ones you see below. None of them are even the slightest bit more difficult than cooking your basic cheeseburger… and even the burger lovers in my family devour them happily. I’m going to write these recipes for one serving each and you can just multiply as needed.
Open Face Salmon BLT
For this wonderful summertime sandwich, I bought a large piece of salmon fillet and cut it into portions that I knew would work with the bread that I was intending to use. This can be a knife and fork sandwich, or you can do as we did, and use a fork to gently flake the salmon to cover the bread and pick it up to eat out of hand.
For one sandwich:
1 slice good crusty bread (I used a pre-sliced loaf of La Brea Pane Toscano)
1 piece of fresh salmon fillet
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
salt to taste
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
1 slice tomato
1 leaf bibb lettuce
1 tablespoon good quality mayonnaise, thinned with 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill weed
Brush a slice of bread with olive oil and toast until golden. Season salmon with cracked black peppercorns, ground coriander and a bit of salt. Heat olive oil in heavy skillet over high heat. Place salmon fillet in hot skillet and let one side develop a beautiful golden brown crust before turning to cook the other side. Cook to desired degree of doneness. I prefer salmon just a touch more cooked than medium and that took about 3 minutes per side. While salmon is cooking, start to compose the sandwich with the bread, lettuce, tomato and bacon. Place salmon on top of the bacon slices and finish up with a dollop of the mayonnaise mixture and chopped dill.
Minced Tuna Burger
This burger was somewhat of a revelation. While trying to simplify a time-consuming recipe, and using whatever ingredients I had in the pantry so as to avoid another trip to the market, I ended up with what will be a new family favorite. For those of us who prefer rare tuna, it only took a few seconds to sear both sides of the burger. But one great thing about this tuna is that it stayed moist and tender even when cooked through, as in the photo above. Try to find a tapenade that is a good mixture of Mediterranean flavors…black olives, capers, herbs and spices and olive oil. Most grocery stores have at least one or two and of course you will have lots of choices at a speciality food market. Note that the burgers need to chill for about 30 minutes before cooking.
For one sandwich:
3-4 ounces fresh tuna
1 generous tablespoon prepared black olive tapenade*
coarse ground black pepper
1 split English muffin
1/2 green scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped tomato
1 tablespoon mayonnaise, thinned with 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon capers, drained and rinsed
Use a sharp knife to mince the tuna into 1/4 inch pieces then place it in a small bowl and gently stir in the tapenade and a nice big pinch of black pepper. Since some tapenades are quite salty, it is best not to add additional salt at this point. Also, the product I used had a nice amount of olive oil. If your tapenade seems dry, add a drizzle of olive oil to the tuna. Using your hands, gently mold the tuna into a patty and place it in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, (about 30 minutes) as this will help the burger hold together while cooking. When ready to serve, brush English muffin with olive oil and toast. Place tomato and green onion on bottom half of English muffin bun. Heat a heavy skillet over high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, remove the tuna burger from the frig and use a spatula to gently place in in the pan. I know that I keep saying “gently” but the point here is that this is a fragile burger and that is what makes it so good…you don’t want to overwork it. Once one side is nicely seared, it will start to hold together and the English muffin is the perfect “bun” as it provides the right amount of structure. So, cook the burger to order over high heat and serve it on the English muffin topped with the mayo mix and the capers and a sprinkle of salt if necessary.
*Tapenade: a Provencal paste or dip, made from black olives, capers and anchovies
Grilled Grouper Taco
There are so many options with a fish taco like this. I’ve used fresh corn tortillas but you can go with flour tortillas or even hard taco shells. The possibilities for toppings is endless. Sliced avocado would be great, or you could add black beans and salsa. Anyway, you get the idea.
I used about 4 ounces of fresh grouper per taco.
This is enough marinade for 4-6 servings.
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
sour cream thinned with a bit of lime juice
Cut the fish into portions that will suit your tortilla shell. Mix together the 6 marinade ingredients and brush the fish liberally. Let marinate 5-10 minutes. Season fish with salt and grill over high heat until opaque throughout. I used a grill pan indoors but of course these would be great grilled outdoors as well. (Make sure that your grill rack is clean, hot and lightly oiled) Serve with warm tortillas and a variety of toppings.