For the Love of Smoked Salmon

Cooking for One

Simplicity, elegance and deliciousness are especially important for the solo cook. Not that these qualities aren't also applicable those who have regularly have company at the table, but the solo cook may have particular challenges if eating and dining alone is a frequent event. It's shockingly easy to slip into the realms of frozen pizza and take-away, even if you love to cook and eat well, so it's good to have a few things on hand that bump an everyday dish into something sublime. It's for this very reason that I always keep a package of smoked salmon in the refrigerator.

Smoked salmon is a perfect in so many ways. It's easy to find, keeps well, tastes delicious and is good for you. It's true that smoked salmon shouldn't be eaten in large quantities due to its sodium levels but the fish is so flavorful, I frankly find it hard to over-indulge. A little goes a long way.

Some may find it a little pricey but I suggest that a closer look will reveal that it is in fact a bargain. As I mentioned, smoked salmon is a very flavorful ingredient and I often use a small amount to flavor my dishes. I recently purchased an 8-ounce piece at Trader Joe's for $7.50 and got three meals out of it, or roughly $2.50 per meal for a delicious, healthy portion of protein.

The kind of smoked salmon that I prefer is a whole piece of salmon fillet, usually sold sealed in plastic. I find it is more versatile than the thinly sliced variety and that I like the texture and chunks of salmon. A bonus feature of smoked salmon is that it's ready to go straight out of the package. I enjoy it best as an ingredient as opposed to a discrete piece of protein on the plate.

Here are a few ways I like to use smoked salmon:

• In a green salad, along with fresh peas and thin slices of sweet red onion.
• Smoked salmon and eggs are best buddies, so stir it into scrambled eggs or tuck it into omelets.
• Similarly, it's a great addition to a fritatta, along with softened leeks and goat cheese.
• Toss it into pasta along with fresh herbs, lemon and a dollop of creme fraiche.
• Make onigiri (Japanese rice balls).
• Make salmon salad with mayo, green onion or chives, and chopped radishes and stuff it into a pita with crunchy pea shoots or other sprouts.
Salmon cakes may seem fussy, but they are easier than you think and can be made in advance.

What are some of your favorite ways to use smoked salmon?

Related: Smoked Salmon, Lox and Gravlax: What's the Difference?

(Image: Dana Velden)

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