Since our move, we’re just a few blocks away from one of the most famous New York institutions, Russ & Daughters. These self-professed “kings of appetizing” are so well-known that they’ve even had a book written about their shop, which has been a Lower East Side staple for almost 100 years.
Russ & Daughters sells more than 10 kinds of smoked salmon, along with caviar, herring, bialys, cream cheese, dried fruits and sweets. They slice every order by hand and are always willing to give generous samples to help you decide between gaspe nova or belly lox or gravlax or western nova smoked salmon—who knew there was such a difference?
When I had a little bit of smoked salmon at home the other day, their menu of delicious prepared bagel sandwiches was on my mind. Inspired by them, I put together a quick and easy open-faced sandwich, with one special ingredient.
Rather than topping my sandwiches with the quintessential red onion, I thinly sliced a bulb of fennel. I don’t care for raw fennel very much, but have you ever tried it roasted? When fennel is dressed with olive oil and salt and then roasted in the oven, it becomes sweet, delicate and the perfect sandwich topping.
Each toast was spread with dill cream cheese before being topped with salmon, fennel, and a few capers for good measure. Served with greens dressed with a tart vinaigrette, the sandwiches were an excellent homage to a New York classic.
P.S. If you can’t stand the crowds at Russ & Daughters, you’ll be thrilled to know that they’re opening a sit-down café just around the corner in early 2014!