Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Salmon Cucumber Rolls

It was so cold and dreary last night that I decided to head to the closest possible fish market -- "Fishmonger" in Huron Village. In spite of it's convenient location, I don't go there more than a couple of times a year due to their early closing hours. But now that I work from home, I decided to seize my chance and see what they were up to. The shop is small and very quaint, the fish quality is excellent, the prices are sky high, and selection is limited. Yesterday's options were:

Dover sole for $30/Lb
Bay scallops for $38/Lb
Swordfish for $16/Lb
Lemon sole for $12/Lb
Cod for $12/Lb
Salmon for $12/Lb

I really wonder how much dover sole and bay scallops they sell at those prices. I realize, of course, it's Huron Village, but still. I didn't feel like swordfish, cod, or sole, and found myself in the same boat as most of my readers -- nothing but salmon looked good. So why not salmon? With my pound of salmon in hand, I was trying to decide what to do with it while wondering through Formaggio's Kitchen, a shop next door. Formaggio's Kitchen is a foodie's Disneyland -- it's one of those places that makes me happy no matter what the weather is like outside. There are at least 10 interesting cheeses laid out for tasting, shelves of French honeys and preserves, ridiculously old and ridiculously expensive balsamic vinegars, and a meat counter packed with salami, pates, hams, and foie gras.

Suddenly, I felt like pasta -- maybe it's because I made it to the pasta shelf. I picked out a box of tagliatelle, then a little bag of sorrel from the herb section and headed home.

I poached salmon, made a pesto out of lemony sorrel and tossed it with cooked pasta. As always, I enjoyed pasta more than salmon. No matter how many times I tried warm poached salmon, it just doesn't rock my boat.

But it does have one redeeming quality -- it makes the best leftovers. Chilled poached salmon is one of the best foundations for appetizers. Perfect served whole with a little Dijon mustard, mashed into a pâté, or made into fish cakes. But since I had a leftover English cucumber in the fridge, I decided to turn it into salmon cucumber rolls for today's lunch. What a perfect and simple hors' d'oeuvre it made!

Salmon Cucumber Rolls

If you don't have salmon leftovers, follow salmon poaching directions in salmon pâté. No need for orange juice and maple syrup in the poaching liquid. Just use half white wine and half water with a bay leaf and a teaspoon of whole peppercorns thrown in if you have them. The depth of liquid in your pan should be the same as the thickness of your fillet.

Fish substitutions: You could make the same dish with any fish leftovers that aren't too dense (so no tuna, swordfish, or mahi). Other than that, anything goes.

Serves 4 as an hors' d'oeuvre

1/2 Lb Salmon leftovers
1/4 cup finely sliced scallions
2 Tbsp sour cream or thick Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp mayo
1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1 English cucumber
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Remove skin from salmon, flake it, and mix with scallions, sour cream, mayo, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Cut the cucumber in half crosswise, so that it's not as long. Slice it lengthwise into very thin slices using a mandolin or adjustable blade slicer. Don't try to do this by hand. You'll have to discard the first few slices since they'll be just skin. When you make your first real slice, stop and test it out with the filling. If it doesn't roll nicely, adjust your slicer to make even thinner slices.
  3. Spread 1 Tbsp of filling on a cucumber slice leaving 1.5 inches empty on one side. Roll up the cucumber slice from the filled end to the empty end.
  4. Arrange cucumber rolls on a plate right next to each other. This will prevent them from unrolling.
Do ahead note: If making this dish for a party, you can make the salmon filling and slice the cucumbers several hours in advance. Then assemble shortly before serving.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should like to educate our populace that Dover Sole is the only true sole, which of course must come from Dover England, and as such comes at quite a cost. The rest of stuff they call sole? Halibut. Besides, wouldn't it be fun to write about that whole screwy moving eyeball thing?
And try, try, try, as I might I just can't find a way to cook salmon so i will enjoy eating it. Serve it to me raw or smoked and i am in heaven, add heat and I just can't stomach it.
Ah well, so much for my Omega 3's.

Helen said...

Hi Jo,

What they call "sole" in New England is really flounder. Halibut is from the same family, but it's huge (200 Lb) and I've never seen that passed as sole. I've had Dover Sole before and just don't think it qualifies a $30 price tag. It's better than flounder, but it's still a mild white fish that doesn't have nearly the personality of big-eye tuna, sable, kampachi and other expensive fish.

And don't worry about Omega-3. There are plenty of fish that have as much fat as salmon (bluefish, mackerel, sardines, sable, trout)


Anonymous said...

These look delicious, Helen. I love the crunch and fresh taste of cucumber. My problem with salmon--well, and with most fish in cold weather--is that my stove is unvented. So when I cook fish, it's still announcing itself the next day throughout the apartment. Does poaching salmon at all reduce the powerful aroma?

Helen said...

Hi Terry,

Yes, poaching is a less smelly method, so is cooking in the oven. Keep in mind that unless the fish is overcooking, it's not likely to smell much. Once the oils heat past 140F, the really start smelling. So try cooking your fish less and avoid pan frying or searing and you shouldn't have any smell problems. Hey, or try wrapping smoked salmon in cucumber strips -- that should be yummy :)

Anonymous said...

I poached salmon, made a pesto out of lemony sorrel and tossed it with cooked pasta.
Wow, seems like it's very yummy:)
Thank you for these wonderful recipe.
I love sorrel,
recently I've posted some French sorrel recipes. I hope they will be useful for you.

Tara the Foodie said...

This appetizer is super cute! I just love the presentation. I was looking for something I could make using canned salmon to bring into the office and I think I have a winner. Thanks for the recipe! If I end up making these, I'll be sure to post my version.

Anonymous said...

I just made this appetizer and my brother agrees that it's incredible. Thank you so much for this recipe!! As soon as i saw the picture I knew this was the kind I was looking for...