Brunch: Smoked Salmon on Griddled Sourdough


I do not propose I am terribly good at cooking, but food has always been a great pleasure to myself and the rest of my family. While some may see me rather unadventurous in my choice of food, the greatest pleasures, I find, are often found not in the extravagant or complex, but in the simplest of ingredients. Great produce, prepared, understood and served correctly. 

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2 slices of sourdough

200g smoked salmon

Creamed horseradish and Dijonnaise

Handful of fresh chives

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The week should be no exception to good food; fast yet soulful goodness. However when it comes to the weekend, meals should be occasions, even if it is simply a moment with yourself. This is a simple yet intensely flavoursome Sunday brunch suggestion. We have all had smoked salmon on toast, but for tomorrow’s brunch menu we are turing up the volume and adding a handful more flavour, texture and depth.

The base ingredient to this recipe, and the bulk of the texture in the dish comes from the bread - if this recipe was an orchestra, this is the percussion: the loud and proud. To add meatiness to the dish, to contrast to the silkiness of the smoked salmon, the recipe calls for a thick (a good half an inch) slice of sourdough - if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly. None of that paper-thin wafer bread here. Brush a single stroke of olive oil over each slice and add a sprinkle of salt then place it on a smoking hot griddle pan. The pan may actually be smoking, this is okay, keep it controlled but do not turn down the heat. After a few minutes, flip the bread over and toast the other side. Using a griddle to toast the bread will add a richness to the finished meal, small charred corners will only intensify the flavours of the whole dish - a flavour reminiscent of a summer barbecue. Using a griddle will also toast the bread unevenly, making some areas crispy and rough, yet keeping other areas soft and succulent… we’re making food that’s a surprise, even for the cook.

Once the bread is finished to your liking, remove it from the pan and leave it to cool by standing each slice against one another. When cooled, spread a thin layer of Dijon mayonnaise over each slice. This will give a mellow tone of heat - the double bass and cellos of our orchestra. Next comes the soul, the attitude, the teacher in the school which keeps everyone else on their toes. How hot you like your food will depend on how much horseradish cream you apply, but remember, smoked salmon is a delicate flavour, don’t overpower it with too much character. 

The dish is finished with the layering of beautifully silky smoked salmon - be generous, it is the weekend. If you have some fresh chives growing in your garden or on your window sill, these should now be coming into flower. Cut a handful off, roughly cut and sprinkle over the dish. This will introduce a rounded garlic flavour to contrast with the punchiness of lemon which will be squeezed over just before serving. Finish off with a pinch of salt and go and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tom Martin