One of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had is the Captain’s Daughter at Saltie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s described minimally on the menu: “sardines, pickled egg, salsa verde” and yet tastes like so much more. The bread, focaccia, is fluffy and rich with olive oil. The flavors are as bold as flavors can be: fishy, bright, acidic, briny. The texture, unlike the criminally soft-on-soft sandwich I wrote about last week, is chewy (from the bread), soft (from the sardines) and crunchy (from all the vegetables). Let’s lift up the hood and see what else we can discover so maybe, just maybe, we can recreate this sandwich back in L.A.
Ok, if I were going to make this sandwich in L.A. I’d start by making some really excellent focaccia; most likely, Nancy Silverton’s recipe. That’s half the battle.
Then I’d buy some oil-packed sardines which are pretty easy to find, but higher-quality ones would make better sense here. Now on to the hard part: what constitutes the “salsa verde”?
I browsed through the Saltie cookbook and didn’t gain too much insight into the recipe but I must have been spacing out because I don’t even remember looking at that recipe maybe I just looked at the recipe for The Captain’s Daughter and it referenced a salsa verde recipe on a different page and I didn’t go to that page. Regardless; when I make salsa verde, it’s pounded up garlic, anchovies, lots of herbs and olive oil. There’s nothing paste-like in this sandwich so I’m thinking their salsa verde is deconstructed.
I’m guessing in a bowl they toss together whole parsley leaves (look at that fat one on the upper left), radish slivers, capers, and–the key ingredient–turmeric pickled onions. Don’t ask me how I know they’re turmeric pickled onions; they’re pickled onions and they’re yellow. And I think I read about them using turmeric pickled onions once so that’s why I’m saying that. They toss all that together with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. At least I’m guessing they do. Make sure to add a lot of that resulting dressing to the sandwich: the bread gets pretty saturated. Which leaves the pickled egg. Pickle an egg and slice it on to the sandwich.
And that’s my best guess at how this masterpiece of a sandwich comes together!
If you live in New York, though, make things easy on yourself. Hop on the L train and go eat this sandwich at Saltie. It’s tops.