Monday, 21 May 2012

Quick Lunch - Salmon, wasabi and creme fraiche open sandwiches on rye bread

When you are trying to eat healthily and look after yourself, it is lunchtime which I think is the most challenging meal of the day. breakfast you can have at home, and since we nearly all at least have a fridge at work, having muesli or cereal at work is possible. At lunchtime at work it is so very tempting to head out to the nearest fast food establishment to tuck into some warm and comforting fried food. Who can resist chips on a cold and grey day? Alternatively, there is the local sandwich parlour. Recent revelations about the levels of fat and salt in shop bought sandwiches prove they are not always a healthy option.

Most of us do not have cooking facilities at work. If we are lucky there is a kettle and a microwave oven. But many people don't have that option. So you want something sustaining, energy giving and SIMPLE. Preferably a dish which involves assembly only.

With that in mind, I'd like to share my idea for wholegrain rye open sandwiches. These are healthy, tasty and exceptionally simple to make.

All you need is the following;
1. A tube of Wasabi paste - this light green Japanese radish paste is now available in UK supermarkets. If you can't find it, most Oriental grocers stock it. A word of warning: Wasabi has a very strong flavour. It is extremely hot. It can cause watering of the eyes, burning of the mouth and a tingling sensation in the sinuses. That may make it sound like it tastes unpleasant, but as long as you don't overdo it, it has an intensive and strangely addictive quality. 
2. Sliced rye bread either with or without seeds. I used rye bread with sunflower seeds. This is because I particularly like the texture of the rye with the nutty flavour of the sunflower seeds. 
3. Sliced smoked salmon. Please keep this cold if you are transporting it from home to work, and keep it cold until you eat it. Fish and meat products can, if allowed to get above 5°C (41°F), cause food poisoning (for more advice please see my previous post:
4. Small tub of creme fraiche. OK, you can try to tick me off here that this is an unhealthy ingredient, but I am not using any butter or margarine here. And you need something creamy to provide moisture and a change of texture to the sandwich. 

Rye grain is high in fibre, because it is difficult to refine, unlike wheat which can be refined into white flour, used to make white bread. Rye can help weight loss because the polysaccharides in it help trap water, making you feel full. Rye has been proven in several studies to reduce cholesterol. Also, like all wholegrains, they take time for the body to break down, meaning a gradual release of energy. This is unlike white bread which can lead to a rush of energy followed by a slump. And it has more flavour and a more substantial texture than ordinary bread.

Salmon contains Omega 3 oils, and vitamins A, B and D. As I have set out in my previous post (, these nutrients are good for memory and brain maintenance and development. Salmon also speeds the metabolism, which since I have reached a certain age, is very good news indeed.

Wasabi is thought to be anti-microbial (eliminates bacteria), anti-inflammatory and has anti-cancerous effects in that it helps the body to deal with substances which can potentially be toxic and cancer causing. These reasons are thought to be behind why it is served with raw fish in sushi.

Whilst creme fraiche may have some fat in it (the tub I bought was 30% fat), it has some benefits. Firstly, its rich and slightly tart, tangy flavour. This means it provides taste, but without salt, since creme fraiche is very low in sodium. Also it is low in sugar and high in calcium. Children and women must ensure calcium levels are maintained for bone development and maintenance. 

Makes 2 open sandwiches, enough for 1 person for lunch.


2 slices rye bread
3 tbsp creme fraiche
1/4 to 2/3 wasabi paste (it may be better if you try the smaller amount, taste, and add if necessary than to put it all in at once - this is powerful stuff!)
2-3 large slices of smoked salmon
(optional) Dill to garnish


Put the creme fraiche in a small bowl and measure out the wasabi. Mix up the creme fraiche and wasabi, tasting as you go.

When you are happy with the strength of the flavour, ensure the wasabi is mixed thoroughly.

Put 2 slices of rye bread onto your serving plate.

Spread the wasabi and creme fraiche mixture on the slices of rye bread.

Top with smoked salmon. Add a sprig of dill, if using.



  1. Looks simple enough. Might try this.

  2. Hello Anonymous,
    I hope you do give it a go! Please let me know how you get on!
    Thanks for leaving a comment, and for reading!