Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sad Sack Salmon: A Fragile Dinner Chez Boo

Dear Mouse,

You know what's good? Butter.

Ok let me back up a second.

So: I'm sad. It happens. As you already know, there has of late been some rupture, some cleavage(not the good kind),some heartbreak in the House of Boo. Now, as we know, I believe the correct response to almost any emotional state is Finding Something Tasty, and this is no exception. However, it has to be the Right Thing. This evening required a particular kind of gentle stitching and finesse,ie., 1) Home Cooking,which in the last month or so of working on my show has fallen by the wayside ENTIREly (my kitchen just looks at me angrily when I come home,its knives glistening)...and 2)Comforting Home Cooking ie, "Comfort Food".

Here's is where I say, you know what's good? Not just butter.

I want to share the dinner I cooked last night for my Partner in Sad because it really taught (or, re-taught) me a few things. One is that Comfort Food is as Comfort Food does, and all is not always the same. Sometimes for SURE it's all about butter and sugar and carbs. Sometimes that actually leaves one feeling distinctly uncomforted. In times of stress and heartbreak it can be very gentle and loving to feed yourself (and your loved one) something that the body will thank you for: good,fresh ingredients and lots of simple, natural flavor. And if such a dinner must occur in the Spring months (as this did), you do want to give a nod to the season as well. Stay in harmony with all around you to the extent that you can.

RECIPE for "Sad Sack Salmon" a la Boo
, w/respectful nods to Jamie Oliver. (We forgot to take any pictures, because, well, you know.)

2 salmon steaks or fillets ( we bought two steaks,cut the elastic off and separated thehalves, so there were 4 separate pieces of salmon altogether. Two in each packet. Amounts don't matter much,this dish is very easy and forgiving.
broccoli rabe or some kind of strong leafy green
some sliced onion (gets all tears out in the cooking)
garlic, chopped (1 or 2 cloves)
'cajun seafood spice mix' from whole foods or whatever you pull down from the shelf distractedly while shopping (but this one worked)
butter(maybe two or three pats,not much needed)
some leftover white wine in bottom of bottle you'd throw out otherwise

I know the flavorings in this dish seem insane and culturally confused (white wine with cajun spices and garlic and onion on salmon?) but that's part of the scattered,emotional charm of the end result. trust me.

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Cut a decent size square of foil, big enough to place fillet or two halves of steak in and be able to fold edges up to meet and seal
3. Make a bed out of chopped up greens and some sliced onion, reminiscent of the bitter herbs and salt water you put on the seder plate at Passover to symbolize the suffering of the Jews. Ahem. What? Where was i?

You can be generous with these. They will, it turns out, COMPLETELY disappear!! in the cooking, which I still don't understand. Where did they go?? When I opened the foil packet there was like a tiny bit of green and awilted ring of onion...but the flavor was all there in the fish.It was like Science. Sad, Sad Science. Anyway...

4. Place salmon pieces atop Bitter Herbs.
5. scatter a generous pinch of the chopped up garlic all over it. Dont be shy; again it TOTALLY disappears.
6. Liberal application of cajun spice mix onto the fish now...

In retrospect, herbes de provence probably would have been more traditional/appropriate but I think that this bit of fiery presence is essential to the healing properties of this dish. It represents,if you will,the passions in your life that are tearing you apartand/or pushing you relentlessly onwards. Also, without it it would have been probably too bland.

7. Seal up edges of foil packet above the fish, leaving a bit of a tent.
Do this with next piece of fish so that your partner can eat also.
8. Place pan with foil packets on it inside oven.

Now, the recipe I glanced at online said 28 minutes, and I thought,oh whatever, it's probably 30. As luck would have it, I happened to be looking at my watch and not crying when the exact 28 minute mark came up.I went to the oven and pulled out two PERFECTLY done pieces of salmon.Not raw in center,not dry ANYwhere.

Be careful opening the packets-steam is no joke! Your emotions are raw enough, leave your skin out of it.

Slide 'em onto plates,pour any juice in the foil over the fish. EAT. Be Merry (it's really good,you will.)

Suggested Dessert: fresh raspberries with creme fraiche (ronnybrook stand at Farmer's Market, union square) and a little bit of vanilla sugar. (stick a vanilla bean in your sugar bowl and walk away. Presto- subtle, magical vanilla sugar whenever you want.) A sweet and delicate way to end the meal; like a little kiss of springtime saying "it's all gonna be all right".

Love, The Boo

Hungry For More?
Marty McConnell's poems..see this blog which just happens to have one written for The Boo in it

1 comment:

M. said...

Way to go with the salmon experiment AND the liberal metaphory! Almost makes me want to figure out how to turn on my oven.