Sigh. I was really excited about this one. I really tried.
After you readers chose “summer dishes that won’t heat up your kitchen” for my July cooking project, I did a lot of research on no-cook recipes. I brainstormed lists of ingredients with friends. I poured over recipes in The New York Times. And Epicurious. And all my Ina Garten Cookbooks. And all my cookbooks.
I finally thought I had found something when I hit on this recipe for Smoked Salmon Sliders, from The New York Times. I decided to pair it with a radish and fennel salad from The Naked Chef, by Jamie Oliver that I had been meaning to make for years. It all promised to be so easy, so simple, so fresh – and absolutely no stove or oven required.
But there were snags. The sliders recipe calls for hot smoked salmon, which I couldn’t find, and opted for regular smoked salmon instead. Given that I’m not really sure what hot smoked salmon is (anyone?), I couldn’t tell if this is why the mustard in the dressing overwhelmed the salmon or not. I also sliced the cumbers improperly – they were thick and watery wedges, rather than the elegant paper thin slices I was going for.
And even though I bought the radishes and fennel at the farmer’s market, the fennel seemed really . . . old. Maybe it’s because I didn’t slice it thinly enough, or maybe it’s because I omitted soaking the vegetables in ice water because I still don’t have ice cube trays, but the fennel was chewy and tough and . . . well, not great.
Still, not every dinner can be a winner. And the salad would have been really great if the fennel hadn’t been so tough. And as for the sandwich – well, I’m including the recipe, but I really think that for a fabulous no-cook dinner, you can’t go wrong with bagels and lox.
Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
Adapted from The New York Times
Makes two sandwiches
4 oz smoked salmon, chopped into 1/2 inch bits
1/2 tbs sliced scallions
1 tbs minced dill
1/2 tbs lemon juice
1 and 1/2 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 baguette, halved and sliced lengthwise
One half cucumber, sliced very thin (you can peel it, if you want to get fancy, but I omitted that step)
In a small bowl, combine salmon, scallions, dill, lemon juice, mustard and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Line the baguette with cucumber slices and top with salmon mixture. Serve.
Radish and Fennel Salad
From The Naked Chef, By Jamie Oliver
2 large fennel bulbs (about 2 pounds)
1 bunch radishes (1/2 pound), thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Trim the top and bottom of the fennel bulbs, reserving the excess stalks from the top for another use. Remove and discard any tough outer layers. Cut the bulbs in half lengthwise and very thinly slice them crosswise. Add the sliced fennel and radishes to a bowl of ice water and let stand for 15 minutes, or until very crisp.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Drain the fennel and radishes and pat dry. In a bowl, toss the fennel and radishes with the dressing and let stand for 5 minutes, then serve.