Salmon–Cheese Toast with Cucumber Relish

Su-Mei Yu, local chef and owner of Saffron, returns to KPBS on May 7 with the station’s third season of Savor San Diego. She makes this recipe in episode one. She visits Prager Brothers Artisan Breads and Venissimo Cheese and then creates a dish from their ingredients with a Thai twist.  

Salmon–Cheese Toast with Cucumber Relish
Makes about 20 pieces

1 1/2 c. salmon fillets, sliced into chunks (almost 1 lb.)
1 t. fresh minced krachai or ginger
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. coarsely chopped cilantro stems
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 T. white pepper powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. fish sauce
1 egg, slightly beaten
20 pieces 1/2-inch thick and 2-inch square, day-old Prager’s French Country Style bread*, sprouted spelt bread or whole wheat bread (crust removed)
20 thinly sliced Garrotxa* cheese squares (about 2/3-inch squares)
20 cilantro leaves
Vegetable oil for frying
Cucumber relish (recipe follows)

Combine salmon, krachai or ginger, garlic, cilantro stems, green onion, white pepper powder, salt, fish sauce and egg in the food processor fitted with a metal blade. Purée into a smooth paste. Transfer the paste into a bowl. (If making ahead, store in an airtight container and refrigerate.)

Spread a thin layer of the paste over the bread. Top with cheese and then spread more paste to cover the cheese and bread completely. Garnish the top with a piece of cilantro leaf. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. (If making ahead, cover and refrigerate for no more than 4 hours.)

Heat oil in a large skillet and while waiting for the oil to get hot, line a colander with paper towels and set it by the skillet. Dip the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. When bubbles begin to gather around the spoon, the oil is ready.

Place the salmon side gently into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the skillet. Gently flip the pieces to fry the bread side until slightly brown (this takes only a couple of seconds). Remove to the towel-lined colander. When all pieces are fried, transfer them to a platter and serve hot with cucumber relish.

Cucumber Relish
Makes about 3 cups

1/2 c. distilled vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. salt
1 large hothouse cucumber
2 to 3 Thai chilies, finely chopped
1/2 c. ground dry-roasted peanuts
1/3 c. coarsely chopped cilantro

Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Let cool.

Cut the cucumber lengthwise and scrape off the seeds. Slice thinly across in a diagonal. Put them in a bowl with chilies, peanuts and cilantro. Mix well and then add the dressing. Toss and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

* Garrotxa cheese from Catalonia, Spain, is available at Venissimo or you can substitute Gouda or mozzarella.

* The Prager Brothers’ French country bread and sprouted spelt are very fresh, making them hard to slice evenly. Let them sit overnight before slicing. Dry and store the crusts for making stuffing.


Su-Mei Yu, owner/chef
3731-B India St.
San Diego, CA 92103

Savor San Diego

Categories: Food & Drink