Remember that Tik Tok famous sandwich that went viral earlier this year? Well, Canadian chef and Marine Stewardship Council ambassador Charlotte Langley has come up with a more planet- and budget-friendly twist using sustainable smoked salmon, a tangy dressing and piled high with fresh, crunchy toppings. Check out our chat with Charlotte, and her recipe, below. —Noa Nichol
For those of us who missed it, which TikTok sandwich went viral this year – and how did it inspire you?
The viral Grinder sandwich! I felt like it sparked a bit of a sandwich revolution. Imagine a towering creation, bursting with layers of succulent deli meats, pickles, crunchy veg and juicy tomatoes with a killer sauce! My kind of sando, but I wanted to make it with a sustainable seafood twist! I love reinventing classic sandwiches, and the TikTok grinder frenzy reminded me of the beauty of layering simple ingredients and flavours while (of course) adding my own personality. In this case, I combined it with another recent TikTok craze – tinned fish! My version uses MSC certified sustainable tinned salmon which proves that the versatility of tinned fish can make it the star of much more than just a tuna sandwich. It’s a great alternative for anyone looking to cut back on meat and more highly processed foods. Tinned salmon is also packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and contains less saturated fats, so it’s also a healthier protein option. By combining the rich and nutritious tinned smoked salmon with fresh veggies and a hint of zesty sauce, I created a sandwich that surprised and delighted! Even though as a chef I instinctively know this, I always love being reminded of how even humble ingredients like tinned salmon can shine when paired with creativity, which is something I am filled to the brim with. I had a lot of fun with this sandwich – both creating and eating it! It reminded me to infuse every dish with a sense of joy and adventure and, most importantly, to think about sustainability. So, with each bite, I hope to bring a smile to people’s faces and show them the endlessly satisfying possibilities that lie within a simple, playful sandwich.
How and why have you put a more budget-friendly twist on the Sammie?
When it comes to creating delicious meals, I firmly believe that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy exceptional and sustainable seafood. Keep in mind that my Grinder recipe feeds two people handily, so if you’re making it just for yourself, halve the quantities! With that said, any recipe can be approached with either higher or lower priced choices, which can also be done here. I personally love smoked tinned salmon because it delivers a rich, satisfying umami flavour that pairs beautifully with the other components of the sandwich. But you can put a more pocket-friendly spin on it by using regular tinned salmon instead – it will also hold up nicely to the melty cheese, crunchy veggies and tangy sauce. There are MSC certified sustainable options at a few different price points meaning you can discover a whole new world of taste while being both wallet-friendly and planet friendly. It’s a reminder that you can achieve culinary excellence while being mindful of your budget and supporting sustainable fisheries at the same time.
Fish “Grinder” Sando
Call it a ‘sub’, ‘hoagie’, ‘hero’ or ‘grinder’, this sandwich is hearty, filling and so satisfying. Fresh garlic gives it just the right amount of bite, and tinned smoked salmon shines as an unexpected ‘sando’ star. If you can find it, fresh lavash bread is amazing for this sando. Otherwise use as thin a loaf as you can, like a nice focaccia.
2 tins (approx. 150 g ea.) MSC certified sustainable smoked salmon (or substitute for non-smoked tinned salmon)
2 slices fresh lavash bread or ½ a focaccia sliced lengthwise in two
5 slices of provolone cheese
4 (180 g) cups iceberg lettuce, shaved
1 green pepper, sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 cup (125 ml) mayo
½ cup (64 g) grated parmesan
1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
¼ cup (37 g) pepperoncini, roughly chopped
1 tsp (5 g) fresh garlic, grated or minced
Preheat oven to broil. In a medium sized bowl, mix the mayo, parmesan, red wine vinegar, pepperoncini and garlic. Toss Iceberg lettuce with the mayo dressing and set aside. Top one piece of lavash (or one half of the focaccia) with the provolone. Broil until melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and top generously with the iceberg mixture, green peppers and tomato slices. In a small bowl, using a fork break up the smoked salmon with the oil from the tin into bit sized chunks. Spread evenly on the remaining piece of lavash (or the other half of the focaccia). Assemble both halves, wrap in parchment paper (if desired), cut into two and enjoy!
Any other favourite easy, delicious spring recipes to share?
When the spring evenings turn a bit cooler, or you’re pressed for time and are craving something cozy yet elegant, I love whipping up an easy and oh-so-satisfying sustainable seafood Ramen. It’s a steaming bowl of flavourful and slightly creamy broth, filled with tender seafood, noodles with a perfect bite, a rich poached egg and kimchi for a slight kick of heat. It’s a comforting hug in a bowl that will warm you up while adding healthy protein and showcasing the wonders of sustainable seafood. I recommend using a tin of MSC certified sustainable smoked Tuna to elevate this dish. By selecting seafood from responsibly managed sources, we can ensure the long-term health of our oceans and enjoy delicious meals guilt-free.
Seafood Ramen with Tinned Smoked Tuna
Chef Char’s version of TikTok famous ramen satisfies any craving for easy and satisfying noodles in minutes, but kicks up the nutrition with kimchi, an egg, and healthy, delicious and sustainable tinned fish. Look for MSC certified tinned smoked tuna which adds depth of flavour and complexity to a simple pantry staple.
2 packs of instant ramen noodles of your choice (Chef Char likes Shin Ramen for an extra kick of heat!)
1 tin (approx. 150 g) MSC certified sustainable smoked tuna (or substitute your favourite canned tuna, salmon, fish)
½ cup (120 g) kimchi
2 tbsp (30 ml) of kewpie or mayo of choice
Sesame seeds for garnish
In a medium pot, cook the ramen noodles according to the instructions on the package. 3 minutes before the noodles are done, crack the eggs directly into the pot with the ramen noodles and cover until soft cooked. In two bowls, add one packet of ramen seasoning and 1 tbsp kewpie mayo and mix well. Divide the noodles with some water into each bowl. Garnish with one egg each, kimchi and smoked tinned tuna. Sprinkle with a little sesame seeds and enjoy!
What are your top tips to make summer seafood meals affordable?
Get to know budget-friendly seafood: Not all seafood comes with a hefty price tag. Look for affordable options such as canned tuna, sardines, mackerel, and frozen shrimp or fish fillets. These alternatives can be just as delicious and versatile as their pricier counterparts.
Cook with versatility in mind: Choose seafood that can be used in multiple recipes. For example, a versatile white fish like cod or haddock can be grilled, baked, or used in fish tacos or seafood stews. This way, you can make the most of your seafood purchase and explore different flavours and cooking methods.
Make use of kitchen staples: Enhance the flavours of your seafood dishes with affordable staples like spices, citrus, garlic and some fresh herbs that you can grow in your garden or even on your balcony! These simple ingredients can transform a basic seafood meal into a mouth-watering culinary experience.
These also allow you to skip the pricier store-bought marinades and sauces. Create your own blends with olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices. It’s a cost-effective way to elevate your seafood dishes while allowing you to customize flavours to your liking. Utilize seafood scraps: Don’t let anything go to waste! Save seafood scraps like shrimp shells, fish bones, or lobster shells to make flavourful stocks or broths. These can be the base for soups, stews, or risottos, adding depth of flavour without additional cost. Remember, affordability doesn’t mean sacrificing taste or quality. With a little creativity, resourcefulness, and an eye for deals, you can enjoy delicious and wallet-friendly sustainable seafood meals all summer long.
What’s your advice to find sustainable seafood in the grocery store.
It’s important to look for the mark of a credible seafood program. In general, certifications are more rigorous than other logos, and if you want to know whether a program can stand behind it’s sustainable claims, take a quick minute to check out their website and see if and how they report their program impacts. The MSC is a non-profit certification program that ensures seafood both meets its rigorous Standard for sustainable fishing, and that the source is independently verified which helps eliminate greenwashing and seafood fraud. MSC certified seafood options (ones with the MSC blue fish logo on the packaging or label) are sold at more major grocery stores than you might think! Most carry some variety of canned or frozen sustainable options, and if it’s fresh options you’re after, check out the seafood counters at Loblaws, Whole Foods and Costco. In the canned aisle, you can also look for my assortment of SCOUT craft tinned seafood. We offer 5 varieties of wild-caught, MSC certified sustainable tinned products (tuna, salmon and lobster!) as well as a new line of super tasty, super convenient Snack Kits that are coming to Canada this Fall. Some of the most recognizable species to keep an eye out for that can come with the MSC blue fish label include:
- Alaskan salmon, such as Chinook (King), Sockeye (Red), Coho (Silver), and Pink salmon, are renowned for their flavour and are commonly found as MSC certified sustainable. They are harvested in a way that ensures the long-term health and longevity of the salmon populations and the ecosystems they inhabit.
- Norwegian cod is a well-known and versatile fish species enjoyed worldwide. With MSC certification, much Norwegian cod comes from well-managed fisheries that prioritize the preservation of cod stocks and minimize the impact on the marine ecosystem.
- Canadian Pacific and Atlantic halibut are in season in the summer, and prized flatfish known for their firm, succulent flesh. When you choose MSC-certified halibut, you can be confident that it has been harvested sustainably, allowing the population to replenish and ensuring the long-term viability of the fishery.
- Patagonian toothfish, often marketed as Chilean sea bass, is a sought-after species with a buttery texture and rich flavour. Once on the brink of collapse and widely boycotted by retailers and restaurants, today more than 50% of the world’s supply is MSC certified sustainable.
These are just a few examples of MSC-certified species, each with its own unique flavour profile and sustainability commitment. By choosing seafood that’s MSC certified, can enjoy your favourite fish while supporting responsible fishing practices and the long-term health of our oceans, lakes and rivers.
Why is sustainable seafood good for you and the planet too?
Wild-caught seafood is a natural choice for me for several reasons. Firstly, it has a lower carbon footprint compared to red meat and can even be lower than chicken or cheese. It’s a more sustainable option as it doesn’t require deforestation, fertilizers, pesticides, and uses very little fresh water. However, it’s important to acknowledge that overfishing and poor management can be detrimental to marine ecosystems and biodiversity. That’s why I prioritize MSC certified sustainable seafood. From a nutritional standpoint, seafood is a powerhouse of omega fatty acids essential for healthy brain development. It also provides vital nutrients like zinc, iron, vitamins A, and B12. What’s fascinating is that these nutrients are more efficiently absorbed and utilized by the body when consumed through seafood rather than from vegetables or supplements. I always feel so grateful for the opportunity to work with gorgeous wild seafood which is our last major food category that truly wild, natural and renewable! Preserving this natural state is crucial, but it requires supporting fishers and fisheries that practice responsible methods. That’s why I always look for a reputable seafood certification like the MSC label when choosing wild-caught seafood. It’s only by making informed choices and supporting sustainable fisheries that we’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of delicious and nutritious seafood while also preserving the health of our oceans and marine life.
Your fave sustainable seafood is?
When it comes to sustainable seafood, one of my absolute favourites is MSC-certified haddock. This species checks all the boxes in terms of sustainability, and here’s why I love it: it has a delightfully mild and delicate flavour, making it a versatile choice for various culinary creations. It’s firm yet flaky texture lends itself well to a variety of cooking methods, allowing you to explore so many different dishes and preparations. From classic fish and chips to baked haddock with a delicious herb crust, the possibilities are endless. Choosing MSC-certified haddock not only satisfies my taste buds but also aligns with my values and commitment to supporting sustainable fishing practices. By opting for this delectable white fish, I can indulge in a delicious meal while knowing that I’m contributing to the preservation of our oceans for generations to come.