- 2 medium beets, any variety
- 1 pound wild-caught salmon, cut into 4 filets, skin on
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
- 4 thick slices rye bread, buttered and toasted
- 2 cups arugula
- Fresh dill, for serving
- Slices of colorful raw beet or radish, for garnish (optional)
About this recipe
Growing up in a coastal town, I ate a lot of fresh fish as a kid. However, this town was in Florida, so salmon was not one of them. To this day I have a hard time falling in love with salmon dishes. It’s just so … salmony. Nevertheless, since salmon is incredibly good for you, I strive to make it a part of my diet, but not without a lot of flavor going on. Such is the case for this Beet & Salmon Open-Face Sandwich. It’s inspired by one of the few restaurant salmon dishes I’ve fallen in love with: the salmon and beet sandwich at Station 400 in downtown Sarasota (and out in Lakewood Ranch too). This is my version of that awesome and addicting sandwich.
I love to sing the praises of beets, especially right now while they’re in season locally. They are full of nutritional surprises, from being nicknamed a “veggie Viagra” to being chock-full of antioxidant properties (we’re talking 50 times more than a typical carrot). Plus, they get their color from a phytonutrient called betalain which is an incredible cancer fighter. As if that weren’t enough, they also contain a nitrate that reduces blood pressure and increases stamina. They do contain a good hefty amount of sugar, but they are also high in fiber and do not have a major impact on your blood sugar. The darkest ones are the healthiest and cooking them by steaming or roasting (like we are in this recipe) increases their health benefits.
Salmon gets a lot of press, so I’m sure you already know all about its reputed health benefits, mainly from the high content of omega-3 fatty acids in the forms of EPA and DHA. Cardiovascular support, mood enhancement, improved eye health, and decreased cancer risk are a few of the omega-3 benefits research supports. To best reap these rewards and minimize potential health risks and environmental hazards, it is best to purchase wild-caught salmon from Alaska, California, Oregon, or Washington, and avoid farmed salmon at this time. If you want more information about what types of salmon to purchase and why, visit SeafoodWatch.org.
Arugula, also called “rocket,” is my favorite salad green because of the punch it packs both in flavor and nutrition. It’s the highest in antioxidants than any other salad green, as well as in calcium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin E. And interestingly enough, it’s a member of the cabbage family, making it rich in those anticancer compounds. Arugula is most beneficial eaten raw, but a quick sauté won’t destroy the nutrients too badly. Fresher is better, so buy local when you can — it’s in season right now.
- Heat oven to 400°. Wrap beets in foil, place on a baking sheet, and roast until tender, about 1 hour.
- Remove beets from foil and let cool slightly. Use a paper towel to remove skins from beets and thinly slice.
- While beets cool, prepare the salmon. Rub both sides of salmon with a little bit of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.
- Transfer to oven and roast until white fat bubbles on the surface of the fish and is slightly firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. You can carefully remove the skin before serving, or leave it on, it depends on your taste.
- To assemble sandwiches: Slather goat cheese onto each piece of toast, top with arugula and a roasted salmon filet. Shingle beet slices over salmon, top with plenty of dill, and serve.
I purchased my rye bread from the Bavarian Bread bakery on Tamiami Trail. My husband prefers this as a gigantic sandwich, so feel free to slap another piece of bread on top if that sounds good to you, too.