Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Salmon now replaces cheese in the cheesesteak: A deeper look into the controversial trend

It’s official: Salmon is the new cheesesteak.

And while it’s different in every way — from texture to the presentation — it’s got something in common with its classic counterpart: lots of love from fans.

And speaking of LOVE, comedian Joan Rivers gained legions of fans with her catchphrase, “What’s the matter with Philadelphia?” She used it to quip about complaints about the cheesesteak during a 1971 performance at the hallowed Capitol Theatre in Philadelphia.

But the beef sandwich is so much more than a pastime for countless Philadelphia-area lovers. Since Philadelphia is one of the most distinctive cities in the country (and world), it stands to reason that many things about it stand out: cheesesteaks, great architecture, robust and unique cuisine, and, of course, pizza.

It even is — it’s called barbecue. But if you’re a fan of barbecue — and I know you are — a cheesesteak is simply a sweet and tangy sandwich of waxy bread, pepperoni, bacon and some sort of meat product. It even has its own adjective: “smoked.”

A recent ranking of most-loved foods in 50 cities — one that I’m guessing will be featured in more than a few book deals in the coming years — placed Philadelphia at No. 15 among things, and, as you’d guess, cheesesteaks rank high among the smorgasbord of foods on the list.

And that’s what makes the introduction of salmon so intriguing. No other seafood does cheesesteaks so well. Its messy, salty, slop-y texture pairs so well with salmon, and indeed, there’s talk that sea urchin is the latest cheese-free seafood for cheesesteaks.

But making salmon the cheesesteak is a way to harness its salty, gooey flavor that no other seafood contains. And perhaps that’s why, over the weekend, Chicken’s South Philly Grill in New Hampshire announced that it has “finally mastered it” — announcing its preparation of stuffed, fried, spicy and savory salmon-steak sandwiches.

A little over a year ago, the Johnnysburg Cheese Cheese Shoppe in Charlottesville, Virginia, introduced a bacon-wrapped, stuffed salmon cheesesteak to its menu.

But that didn’t do the trick:

Courtesy of the Washington Post

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