It’s been a rough year on our tomato crop. After spending most of last winter dreaming about tasting the perfect, summer ripe tomato (like in this breakfast dish) we ended up with plants that were heavily laden with green tomatoes. I relished the few ripe tomatoes we got from our garden this year and was for once grateful for the supplementary tomatoes we got from the CSA this year.
With such a small crop of ripe tomatoes, I wanted to enjoy them raw. My thoughts turned to eating them in a simple BLT, but I also had a lovely wild Coho salmon fillet on hand as well as plenty of fresh dill from the CSA. A salmon BLT it would have to be.
The only problem is that this salmon BLT has tough competition in my taste bud memory. When we lived in Cleveland, John and I would frequently fight over who got to order an ahi tuna BLT at a favorite diner: thick cut, toasty multigrain bread, a slather of citrusy aioli, a thick cut of seared tuna steak, and crispy, salty bacon.
With the ingredients I had available, I cooked my salmon in a cast iron skillet in a combination of butter, olive oil and fresh thyme until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. My aioli consisted of mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, fresh dill, and capers for an added briny, pickle taste. All that was needed to dress this sandwich was thick cut bacon, baby spinach, and those ripe CSA tomatoes, lightly salted to maximize their juicy sweetness.
This sandwich was messy but oh so juicy and delicious. I think if they could be, those tomatoes were proud to be used in such a simple but perfect way to celebrate their being one of the few Northwest tomatoes to attain perfection this year.
- 4 strips, thick cut bacon, cut in half and cooked
- 16 oz wild Coho salmon fillet
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1 large tomato, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds, sprinkled with 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 potato buns
Remove skin from salmon fillet, if necessary. Pat the fillet dry with paper towels. Season both sides of the fillet with a total of 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cut the fillet in half, crosswise. Add the butter, olive oil, and thyme sprigs to a large cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat. When the butter has melted and the fats in the pan are shimmering, add the salmon fillets. Cook for about 2-3 minutes without moving the fillets, then flip them over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Flip again and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, basting the fillets with the butter and olive oil in the pan then flip and cook on the other side until the fish reaches your desired degree of doneness.
While salmon cooks, combine mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, dill, capers and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toast the potato buns.
To assemble sandwiches, spread a layer of the aioli on each side of the buns. Place a handful of spinach on the bottom halves of the buns and place the salmon fillet on the spinach. On the top halves, place the slices of tomato and a few pieces of bacon. Makes 2 sandwiches.
CSA Count: 2
Garden Count: 1