I wish I had a story on these black pepper biscuits. I so want to say I learned how to make them by spending hours in the kitchen watching my grandmother roll out the dough and dust it with flour and that I had inherited her old, mangled pastry cutter and used it for this recipe. But my grandmother never made biscuits. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was a young adult before I even tried one. I am a product of the great state of Michigan where we toast bagels for breakfast serve rolls with dinner.
However, Michigan does have it’s own culinary advantages. Like a surplus of fresh water fish available just about any time of the year. The salmon I’m using for this sandwich was caught in Lake Michigan just a couple months ago and has been waiting in our freezer ever since to be turned into this tasty dish.
Truth be told, this sandwich came by accident. A direct result of some leftover vegetable dip from a dinner party, some biscuits I made for brunch the day before, and a freezer well stocked with salmon that needed to be consumed. But it works so, so well. The buttery biscuit slathered with a creamy crème fraîche dip that’s studded with chunks of sweet cornichons and a layer of flaky, tender salmon seasoned simply with salt and pepper – oh friends this was too good not to share.
Can we talk about the dip layer? Our cooking club had celebrated with a Picnic and Paris theme recently and the dish I brought was a crudités platter with carrots, cornichons, and a dip made from equal parts cream cheese, crème fraîche, and some additional cornichons chopped up and mixed in. Some of the dip made it home with me and I was able to utilize it in this sammie. If you can’t find crème fraîche, you can use sour cream. I like the crème fraîche because it has a higher fat content and consequently has a richer flavor. And if you can’t find cornichons, mini gherkin pickles will work, too.
I’m using 2 smaller salmon filets that were about 6 ounces each that I cut in half to make 4 sandwiches. The filets they sell in stores are often larger so you could purchase a 12 ounce filet and cut it into 4 equal pieces. I also don’t eat the skin on this sandwich. You could ask your butcher to remove the skin or cook it with the skin on then remove it once it’s cooked.
The biscuits come together in no time and the salmon couldn’t be easier to prepare. This is a great dish to serve at a brunch or luncheon since you’ll have leftover biscuits and crème fraîche dip that you could spoon in a bowl and serve with a platter of vegetables. Try it out and tell me about it in the comments below!
Cracked Black Pepper Biscuits with Salmon
Makes 4 sandwiches
For the Biscuits
Makes about 12 biscuits
- 2 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 3/4 Tsp Salt
- 4 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Tbsp Cracked Black Pepper Pepper
- 1/3 Cup Cold Butter
- 1 Cup Butter Milk
- 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
For the Sandwiches
- 1 12 Oz. Salmon Filet, cut into 4 equal pieces or 2 6 Oz. Salmon Filets each cut into 2 equal pieces (Skin on or off)
- 1/2 Cup Cream Cheese, softened
- 1/2 Cup Crème Fraîche or Sour Cream
- 10 Cornichons or Mini Gherkins, chopped
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Chives
Preheat oven to 450. Get started on the biscuits by sifting together the dry ingredients and stirring in the pepper. Use a pasty cutter to blend in the butter, working the dough until the butter is pea-sized. Continue to use the pastry cutter and slowly pour the buttermilk in. Work everything until just combined and roll into a square that’s about an inch thick. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter to cut the biscuits and place on a pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
Lay the salmon filets (skin side down, if your salmon has the skin on) on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes then remove.
While the salmon is cooking, combine the cream cheese, crème fraîche, chopped cornichons, and chives in a bowl and stir to combine.
Assemble the sandwiches by slices the biscuits in half and laying arugula on the bottom half of each biscuit. If the salmon has the skin on, use a knife to remove it then place each filet on top of the arugula. Add a dollop of the crème fraîche sauce on the salmon then top with the other biscuit half. Serve and enjoy!