Grilled Salmon Sandwich


  • 1 pound salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices crusty bread, lightly toasted
  • 1⁄4 cup plain or saffron-flavored aioli, or
  • 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise mixed with 1 teaspoon chopped capers
  • Red-leaf or other tender lettuce leaves, or a handful of arugula leaves
Time Estimates

Prep time: about 5 min  

Cook time: about 5 min  

Total time: 10 min  


  1. Slice the salmon diagonally into 8 thin cutlets about 2 ounces each.
  2. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Grill over a hot fire, broil or sear in a nonstick skillet until just done, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  4. Meanwhile, spread the bread with aioli and top half the slices with lettuce.
  5. Put 2 slices of salmon on each sandwich and serve immediately.


Makes 4 sandwiches


Tuck some pickled onion rings (see Papas a la Huancaína) into the sandwiches.

Good to know

  1. Most kitchens simply use farm-raised Atlantic salmon, which is available all year, consistent in size, and fatty enough that it is moist even if overcooked, as it often is. For the best sandwich, however, seek out wild king (chinook) or sockeye salmon, fresh in season or frozen the rest of the year.
  2. My first choice for bread would be a crusty, slightly sour loaf made with some whole wheat or rye flour, such as Acme Upstairs Bread from Berkeley. Use mild lettuce or a more bitter-peppery green like arugula, as you prefer. I like the garlicky flavor of aioli with grilled salmon, but feel free to use tartar sauce, basil-flavored mayonnaise, or any other doctored-mayo sauce you like.

If all you can find are salmon steaks rather than fillets, choose 2 large ones (9 to 10 ounces each) and divide them as follows: Locate the central bone, the ribs splitting off around the belly cavity, and the bones extending up toward the dorsal fin opposite the ribs. With a short, stiff knife, cut through the ribs where they join the central bone, leaving them attached to the meat. Cut as close as possible to the central bone to free all the meat from one side of the steak, and repeat on the other side. You now have two thick fillet sections with skin and ribs attached. Slip the knife under the ribs to separate them from the meat, and trim off the last 1⁄2 inch or so of belly flap. Holding a piece skin side down against the cutting board, scrape the knife against the skin at about a 20-degree angle to “shave” the meat away from the skin. Find the tips of the pin bones running diagonally through the thickest part of the meat and pull them out with tweezers or clean needle-nose pliers. Finally, divide each fillet section in half horizontally, yielding 8 identical portions.

Which beer should I drink with this?
I go back and forth between hefeweizen and pale ale with this, depending on my mood and the weather.

The Microbrew Lover’s Cookbook 

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From The Microbrew Lover’s Cookbook, Copyright © 2002 by Jay Harlow. Used by arrangement with Jay Harlow.

Photo: cobalt123/Flickr