Peter Shelsky, owner
Peter launched Shelsky's in June of 2011 on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens.
On weekdays, customers come in for sandwiches and supplies. On the weekends, a larger crowd shops for home brunches and afternoon snacks.
Shelsky's doesn't smoke fish themselves, instead relying on vendors like a Door County, WI fish house that smokes whitefish right after they're caught.
Shelsky's bluefish salad starts with some big filets and some raw fennel.
Hazelnuts come next.
Then some grinds of black pepper
Chopped smoked bluefish, fennel, orange slices, hazelnuts, and mayo all go into a smoky, salty, tangy, and crunchy mix.
Mixing it up
Vincente starts to prep the house-cured kung pao salmon.
Kung pao salmon curing ingredients
In addition to salt there's rice wine, Sichuan peppercorns, two types of chili bean paste, and allspice.
The spices are ground before mixing.
The peppercorn-spiked salt is mixed with rice wine and chili bean paste.
Cheesecloth goes down on the counter.
The fish rests on top and some lemon gets sprinkled on.
The cure is applied in a thick, even layer.
Wrapping the salmon
After salting, the salmon is wrapped and weighed down, then left to cure for several days.
Wrapped up tight
Fishing for whitefish
Next up: making the Brooklyn Native sandwich with salmon, whitefish salad, and pickled herring.
Pulling meat from smoked whitefish
Vincente removes the meat from the smoked whitefish for whitefish salad.
Pickled herring gets chopped up
Shelsky's usually use smoked filets for the whitefish salad, but they were out of stock when I visited, so Vincente pulled meat from whole whitefish.
Mixing whitefish salad
All sandwiches have the option of being served on bread, a bagel, or a bialy, like this garlic-crusted one going through the toaster. Not the best for your breath, but when you start with smoked fish already, why not?
The Brooklyn Native, almost complete.
The whitefish salad and salmon are joined by pickled herring and sour pickle slices on the Brooklyn Native.
The Brooklyn Native
Shelsky's uses the whitefish salad on a number of its sandwiches, including the Brooklyn Native, seen here.