salmon sandwiches with basil mayo

My go-to meal in college was canned tuna with a light dollop of mayo and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. I ate this on saltine crackers or toasted bread, and it still remains a very simple way to eat lunch if I just can't muster the energy for anything else.

Canned fish has always been a mystery, though. Where is it sourced? Which brand is best? Do sardines from Morocco really taste better than sardines from Mexico? And speaking of sardines, since I haven't had any luck convincing Andrew they're delicious, I thought I'd try something new: canned salmon.

We all know the health benefits of salmon and that it's a fantastic source of omega-3's. Sometimes there's nothing better than a perfectly cooked piece of wild caught Alaskan salmon, and this summer I've certainly indulged in a lot of it. One of the downsides, though (aside from the expense), is it's best to eat it the day you buy it which sometimes forces me to make an extra trip to the store. I usually don't mind this because it's nice to take a leisurely walk to Whole Foods on Saturday afternoon, but sometimes the grocery store is the last errand I want to run. Enter, canned salmon.

I haven't tried it until now, but since there are several quality varieties at the market these days, I thought I'd experiment and see what I could come up with. This is my first creation, a riff on my favorite tuna sandwich but with some grown up flavors. It's just as easy as opening a can of tuna, except the mayo is homemade and freshened up with some bright green basil leaves. Add some thinly sliced red onions, peppery arugula and toasted bread, and you have yourself a very satisfying sandwich. It's perfect for lunch on the weekends or a simple dinner mid-week. If you try canned salmon, let me know. I'd love to hear what others are doing with it!


Serves 2

2 cans wild salmon
2 sandwich rolls, toasted
Basil mayo (recipe follows)
Thinly sliced red onion

Flake the salmon into a medium bowl and add a couple of spoonfuls of basil mayonnaise. Preferences are key here, so start with less then you'll think you want and gradually add more until it's creamy but not dripping wet. Season with black pepper and salt, as needed.

Spread some salmon onto the bottom half of the toasted bread and top with arugula and red onion. Slice and serve. If serving two, you may have some salmon leftover to save for another day.

*To make the basil mayo, follow the recipe for basic mayonnaise, adding three large basil leaves to the food processor.