Smoked Salmon Salad Sandwich with Capers, Pickled Red Onions, Eggs and Tarragon Vinaigrette

| July 17, 2010 | 0 Comments

Smoked salmon is such a wondrous food in itself, why turn it into an ingredient? Because we can! 

Smoked salmon, whether smoked cold or hot, is usually accompanied by breads or crackers and condiments such as cream cheese, onions, capers, sour cream … and the list can go on around the world. 

My first taste of smoked salmon was with the cold-smoked variety, or lox. I love it with a rye bread, finely minced red onions, capers, grated hard-boiled egg and maybe some sour cream. That combination along with some fine sparkling dry white wine simply sing together and is one of my favorite indulgences. 

This smoked salmon salad sandwich is based on that combination in the previous paragraph and was inspired by a similar one I enjoyed at Prudence Uncorked, a relatively new restaurant in Salem, Oregon. The chef uses their house-smoked salmon as a foundation. Undoubtedly, the next time I smoke a large fillet of salmon, I’ll reserve the leftovers for this. 

Smoked Salmon Salad Sandwich with Pickled Red Onions, Capers and Chopped Egg


If you’re purchasing your salmon, look for some that is moist . Some hot-smoked salmon is almost like jerky and is best enjoyed alone. If you want to smoke your own, there is a method using a charcoal grill in our post titled Salmon Enchanted Evening, or A Fish Tale

This smoking method comes from Cooks Illustrated, and  they have a sister method for gas grills. A more typical rub than the one on our earlier post will be based on salt, pepper and brown sugar, and those alone are sufficient. 

I found my salmon at Fitt’s Seafood in Salem. It had a soft, moist texture and wonderful flavor. It is smoked especially for them by Pacific Seafoods, using Fitt’s recipe. If you wish to smoke your own fish, send me a message and I’ll send you a PDF of both methods of smoking: charcoal grill method and gas grill method. 

Smoked Salmon Salad Sandwich
Inspired by a similar sandwich enjoyed at Prudence Uncorked restaurant and channeled from a deep desire to recreate at home. 

For the Smoked Salmon Salad: 

  1. ¼ cup (60 ml.) minced red onion
  2. ¼ cup (60 ml.) capers, chopped
  3. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) sherry vinegar
  4. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) Dijon mustard
  5. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) salt
  6. ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml.) fresh ground black pepper
  7. ¼ cup (60 ml.) fresh tarragon, chopped
  8. ½ cup (120 ml.) extra-virgin olive oil
  9. 1 pound (455 gr.) moist, hot-smoked salmon, flaked with a fork
  10. 1+ tablespoon (15+ ml.) mayonnaise
  • Mix together ingredients 1-7 in a mixing bowl or measuring cup.
  • Using a whisk or a small immersion blender, slowly add the oil until an emulsion forms.
  • Thoroughly mix in the mayonnaise and taste for seasoning.
  • Add to the flaked salmon and mix thoroughly.

Note: The vinaigrette was adapted and expanded on from a Gourmet recipe

For the sandwich: 

  1. Miniature baguettes, Ciabatta bread or bread of your choice
  2. Zuni Café’s Red Onion Pickles (recipe follows)
  3. Capers
  4. Hard-boiled egg, chopped (optional)
  5. Lettuce

Assembling the sandwich: 

  • Spread a small amount of mayonnaise on the inside of each piece of bread.
  • Add a nice layer of fresh lettuce of your choice.
  • Add a layer of the smoked salmon salad.
  • Add some of the pickled onions, chopped hard-boiled egg and top off with a few capers.

Zuni Café’s Red Onion Pickles
Adapted from The Zuni Café Cookbook via David Lebovitz 

Pickled Red Onions


The Zuni Café has been a San Francisco mainstay since 1979 and is a must-visit restaurant when you are there. This recipe will be a welcomed addition to your collection. 

  1. 3 cups (720 ml.) white vinegar
  2. 1½ cups (360 ml.) sugar
  3. 1 cinnamon stick
  4. A few cloves, allspice berries and peppercorns
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 1 small dried chile
  7. 1 pound (455 gr.) red onion, peeled and sliced into rings
  • Bring the first six ingredients to a boil in a non-reactive saucepan large enough to hold all.
  • Simmer ⅓ of the onions for 20 seconds then remove to a platter to cool.
  • Simmer the next third of the onions for 20 seconds then remove to a platter to cool.
  • Simmer the final third of the onions for 20 seconds then remove to a platter to cool.
  • Remove the pickling brine from the heat and cool.
  • Thoroughly chill the brine then add the onions and store in the refrigerator.

Bon appétit 

— Charles

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Category: Seafood

About the Author (Author Profile)

Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities

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