There is something really magical about the flavor and smell of herbs de Provence. Alluring and thoroughly perfumed, this potent herb mix reminds me of summer and makes me dream of future vacations in the South of France. As a matter of fact, visiting France has always been a (culinary) dream of mine. Hopefully I’ll get there one day: I’ll get to touch and smell the endless lavender fields I’ve seen in the movies, I’ll visit some of the famous French vineyards, and I’ll feast on rustic dishes which will remain implanted in my memory forever.
In the meantime however, I am glad to be able to recreate the culinary spirit of France by using herbs de Provence, and I only wish I’d known more ways to incorporate them into my recipes. Sadly, due to my lack of spare time to do any cooking at all (!) nowadays, I have had no chance to do any research or to come up with any new recipes – so I’ve stuck to using this herb mix in some old, tried-and-tested dishes, such as the fish sandwich below. I married the flaky salmon with the crunchy and assertive radicchio leaves, and I used multi-grain bread for both texture and wholesomeness. The end result: a sandwich which delivers freshness and flavor – and a touch of France 🙂
1 piece salmon (the one I got weighed a bit under 1/2lb)
2 slices multi-grain bread
1 stick cream cheese
4 radicchio leaves
2 medium yellow tomatoes
2 medium green onions, cut finely
1/3 tsp herbs de Provence
Salt and peppers to taste
Lemon juice (optional)
Toast the bread lightly, and then set aside.
Combine the cream cheese and the green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir a few more times until the mixture is homogeneous. Set aside.
Place the salmon on a plate and sprinkle the herbs de Provence on top evenly. Heat a nonstick grill pan. Put the salmon in the pan, skin side down, and grill for 3-4 minutes. Turn the salmon over and grill for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown and flaky. Take the salmon out of the pan and let it “rest” briefly on a plate.
Spread the cream cheese & green onion mixture evenly on both slices of bread. Put 2 radicchio leaves on the slice of bread which will make up the bottom of the sandwich. Take the skin off the grilled salmon and place the salmon on top of the radicchio leaves. Add the 2 remaining radicchio leaves on top of the salmon. Slice the yellow tomatoes. Put 3-4 slices on top of the radicchio leaves. Finish off by placing the other slice of bread on top of the tomatoes. Press the sandwich gently.
This is how the preparation process looks like:
Cut the sandwich in half and serve it warm with extra sliced yellow tomatoes and green onions on the side.
My husband likes to add a splash of lemon juice to this sandwich. As for me, I find lemon juice way too acidic, and I rely on the tomatoes to provide the sandwich with just about the right amount of freshness.
Coupled with the flavorful mixture of the herbs de Provence, the veggies and the fish turn into something else: a cheerful concoction, something dreamy, fragrant and light. Shall we call it Provençal poetry on a plate? Maybe we should 🙂