Twenty years ago, on a whim, I picked up this little cookbook.
I didn’t know anything about the author – the now legendary UK food critic Fay Maschler – but I can remember being attracted (unusually for me) to the photo-less format and writing style. Specifically, it was this recipe for “One of the World’s Greatest Sandwiches” that persuaded me buy the book, but until two days ago, I’d never actually made it.
When I was growing up, smoked salmon was an exotic food, which we only ever ate at Christmas parties hosted by my parents’ very hip friends, Bill and Marty. Gorgeous Aunty Marty would lay a whole fish, sliced, on the buffet table, and my sister and I would try to eat as much as we could without anyone noticing.
Big Boy, who has grown up eating smoked salmon in his school sandwiches, was foraging for lunch a couple of days ago, and I decided that it was finally time to try this recipe out. He took a bite and laughed out loud, then tilted his head and said in a slightly surprised tone, “Mum, this is amazing…”
That’s good enough for me.
I don’t usually provide a recipe verbatim, but I’d hate to compromise the tone of Ms Maschler’s writing. So here it is, as written…
‘One of the World’s Greatest Sandwiches’
For each person:
- 2 slices of hot toast or 1 slice for an open sandwich
- smoked salmon
- mango chutney
- hot, crisp, streaky bacon
- cayenne pepper
For each person, lightly butter 1 piece of toast, cover it (thickly) with smoked salmon, spread the salmon (thinly) with chutney, cover the chutney with bacon, sprinkle cayenne pepper on the bacon and surmount with another piece of lightly buttered toast. Equally good as an open sandwich, in which case the single piece of toast should be medium-thick instead of medium-thin.