I still have the flu. It’s getting better. My fever broke yesterday morning, which is great news, but I am still fatigued and dizzy and generally not terribly coherent, so we’ll see how blogging goes. If it’s just too painful to read my illness-induced prose, at least you can look at the pictures.
A tartine is simply a fancy French word that means open-faced sandwich. Adobo is a crazy good Mexican sauce/marinade usually seen with chicken, but it also works with fish, shrimp, and pork quite nicely. It’s made with dried red chiles and garlic, and it turns this lovely brick-red color.
Now, this salmon is poached. And in the past, I have found poaching salmon to be quite a scary undertaking. The first time I tried it, it was so bad that I swore off poaching for good. I spice crusted the fish with Indian flavors, then overcooked the salmon and basically made us some Indian-spiced cat food. And thanks to the garam masala, my cats wouldn’t even eat it.
Fortunately, I ventured back into the land of poaching, initially with chicken, to discover that it’s a very useful kitchen skill to have in one’s arsenal of tricks. It produces a moist, tender protein and it’s really quite easy once you figure out the method. So don’t be afraid of the poached salmon – it’s wonderfully moist and flaky in the end.
So go out and cook this one. It’s a lovely, elegant treat that is light and flavorful and will maybe, possibly, trick your mind into thinking you’re somewhere warm and festive during this longest, coldest month of the year.
14 oz. salmon fillets
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup water, maybe more
3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 small shallot, sliced
2 (3-inch) strips lemon zest
10 black peppercorns
A big pinch of kosher salt
2 tbs mayonnaise
2 tbs Adobo (recipe to follow)
2 tbs minced scallion
Handful of fresh cilantro, minced
1 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4-6 slices good quality sandwich bread, like a Pullman loaf, toasted and cut in half on the diagonal
1 medium avocado, sliced
1 tbs fresh dill, chopped
Place the salmon fillet(s) in a medium saucepan. Add the wine, water, parsley, sliced shallot, lemon zest, peppercorns, and salt. Bring the heat to a simmer, then turn it down to medium-low to low heat. Poach for 3 minutes, then test for doneness. It will likely take a bit longer; mine took around 8 minutes. Remove the salmon from the pan, place in a large bowl, and cool.
Using a fork, gently flake the salmon into large pieces. Add the mayo, Adobo, scallion, cilantro, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When ready to eat, heap a couple spoonfuls on each toast point and smooth out. Top with two avocado slices and sprinkle on some fresh dill. Serve immediately.
5 dried guajillo chiles
3 dried ancho chiles
2 dried cascabel chiles
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. Preheat a medium saucepan to medium heat. Toast the chiles for about 30 seconds per side, just until they are fragrant. Don’t let them burn. Cover the chiles with hot water and return to high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and shut off the heat completely. Let them sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add the softened chiles to your blender, along with the rest of the ingredients and about half a cup of chile soaking water.
Puree until completely smooth – give it at least 5 minutes.
This makes about 2 cups. Use the rest to marinade chicken, pork, or shrimp later in the week.