ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And now, a story about a top chef who fell in love with a lowly sandwich. The bread was cheap, the cheese questionable, the tomato and lettuce probably not the freshest.
MARCUS SAMUELSSON: But it's just so delicious. Right? It makes no sense.
SIEGEL: That's Marcus Samuelsson. When we asked him to share his story for our Found Recipe series, we were expecting something from his Swedish background or his Ethiopian roots, or from one of his New York restaurants. Instead, Samuelsson wanted to tell us about a fish sandwich he had in Barbados.
SAMUELSSON: I have a ritual when I come to any new place. I always ask my cab driver, where do you eat? Right? So here I am, in Barbados. And he drives me to this tiny shack called Cuz. It's about 20 yards from the beach. It looks like any good fish shack should be looking - it looks like it's going to fall down. And everyone on the island comes to this fish shack. Cuz is the man that runs this fish shack. You ask him for a fish sandwich with everything on. And then he just turns around - you get that half-a-second stare - and then, can you really take everything? And you sort of nod and then he puts it together. You take the first bite, the hot-sauce is spicy. And it's just all these ingredients that should be so wrong, are just so right. The bread - when I say this bread is trash, it would make Wonder Bread bread of the year and feel organic. I don't even know where - what machine makes this bread up because it cannot be a human. But he soaks it in the oil, which doesn't sound delicious, and it just gets all sort of the flavor from the previous fish sandwich that's been cooked. It's toasted. It's delicious. On top of that, Cuz is using this really bad cheese. In France, this wouldn't even be considered cheese. This would be glue for the door. But it has some salty component to it. He puts a cooked egg on top and then really bad mayo, a tomato that sometimes is fresh and sometimes not. The lettuce is delicious. I don't know if it's been washed, but who cares? But the star of the sandwich - and this is where Cuz does not go wrong, he does not compromise - the fish. The local fish is fresh. And that's why this sandwich is king of all fish burgers. So to cook up a sandwich like this at home, it demands two things of you - some discipline and keeping your trashy side. And what I mean with that is, don't fancy this up. Do this with a piece of snapper or even catfish. You're going to cook everything in the skillet - the bread, the fish, the cheese and the egg. If you do that, you have the highest chance of making this an incredibly good fish sandwich. That's it.
SIEGEL: That's Marcus Samuelsson, author of the cookbook "Marcus Off Duty." If you can't get to Barbados for Cuz's fish sandwich, you can find out how to attempt it at home on our Found Recipes page at npr.org.
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