Russ and Daughters Press
The Rosengarten Report
May 9, 2005
Russ & Daughters Appetizing Shop (New York, New York) Whitefish and Baked Salmon Salad
THE INITIAL CONTEXT: April 26, 2004, was the happy date I released the results of my epic tasting of brunch items (many of which could double as lunch items). One of my favorite categories included the top elements I found for preparing a New York-style smoked-fish brunch. And, of all those, this is the one I keep coming back to, from an "appetizing shop" on Manhattan's Lower East Side that I keep going back to.
THE INITIAL WRITE-UP: "A staple of the old-time Sunday table used to be whole smoked whitefish, with the heads, tails, and golden skins intact; diners used to love to tear the oily-salty flesh away from the whole fish. The golden fish are still in the display cases at the old shops, but they don't appeal to the public at large. Something related has replaced whole whitefish in the popularity polls: a wickedly delicious salad made from the whitefish flesh. Just spread it on a warm bagel half, and you are in smoked-fish heaven. I must confess--I myself buy it far more often these days than I buy whole fish. In this category, you don't have to even think about it. The Russ & Daughters Whitefish and Baked Salmon Salad ($14 per lb.) is, without any question, the greatest whitefish salad I have ever tasted, and very possibly the most exciting product of all in this whole smoked fish tasting. It is a little pinker than the others, due to the wise inclusion of a small amount of baked salmon. It is oily and rich, as many of them are-but this one somehow manages to be devastatingly light and fluffy at the same time. It is seasoned just right, with a perfect touch of onion-y flavor. I'm warning you: you may literally become addicted to this massively satisfying stuff." THE 2005 UPDATE: I am addicted. What I really noticed this time is the delicacy; some whitefish salads are as intense, but I can't take much of them. This one is intense, complex. . . and endlessly gulpable at the same time. Spread on a toasted bialy for a glimpse of heaven (yarmulkes not required).
BEST STRATEGY FOR ACQUISITION: To order, contact Russ & Daughters via phone at 212.475.4880.