Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Best Meal Possibly Ever Eaten

The last day of our California vacation gave us the best meal I've possibly ever eaten. 

When you think California you think fresh and organic and food brimming with vital nutrients. It is some of this which made the meal special.

The other surely bigger part of it is that Al and our son put the meal on the table, having caught the salmon that was the star of this final supper of the trip.

The two have fished together just as, in previous turn, Al fished with his father. Their best times, which have centered around the boat and fishing, are too many to count. 

When career moves took our son to far places Al gamely continued fishing on his own. Accustomed to a fishing buddy, and then without one, you adjust but the catches are perhaps never again quite as fun.

The spring visit was a chance for Al and our son to do some sea fishing. They've talked of doing this for a long time. They missed a chance some years ago and resolved to make up that lost opportunity.

On this fishing expedition they were after salmon. The only day that could be fit in was the day before we flew back. 

The forecast originally called for rain. We hoped for pleasant conditions. The weather, waffling back and forth, decided to go for perfect. 

There couldn't have been a nicer day to be on the water with the itch of fish to catch and the ocean breezes blowing soft.

The two started out in the dark to get to the charter boat for early departure. They were a fishing party of six. Everyone was as excited as school boys on extended recess.

The king salmon were biting that day. All caught at least one, some two. Our guys did well for themselves. They phoned to say it would be salmon steaks for dinner tonight.

Our son said he'd take care of the meal. Setting the table was easy to do. We wandered onto the deck while the kitchen filled with activity. 

I call the deck the orangerie. There may not be such a word but deck doesn't begin to cover the delight of this outdoor space with citrus trees in tubs and the potted herbs which I diligently watered and turned toward the sun during our visit.

The call to dinner came shortly. Salmon steaks don't take long. Our son brought the platter to the table. 

Next he came with a Rice a Roni hot dish with broccoli and cheese. Raw sugar snap peas, crisp green counterpoint to the steaks, arrived in a separate bowl.

The meal was a pleasure. The steaks were sublime. We ate, laughed, helped ourselves to seconds. Give me the recipe I implored. How did you do this? You got it just right.

It made me feel like a question asked of Bon Appetit. "Can you get me the recipe for _______. We were visiting ______ and my _______ took me to ________ for my/ our __________. Everything was delicious but I can't get my mind off the ________. You have my forever gratitude if you can get them to share the recipe with me."

Bon Appetit goes to work and procures the recipe from the restaurant or inn or B & B where the 5th or 50th anniversary or birthday celebration or business trip meal for one or girls weekend away was had. 

The recipes, generously delineated by those contacted, are a treat to read. The full directions make it easy to imagine the finished presentation which has so captivated the diner.

This is how directions for California King Salmon Steaks might look if a request to the magazine had actually been put in and the recipe had gone into print.

 "Dust fresh salmon steaks with bread crumbs. Brush lightly with dijon mustard and place on cookie sheet on rack in preheated oven. Bake until done."

To assist in gauging oven time think of it as "the length of approximately one glass of wine or bottle of beer or two."  No timer was set. There was no paying exact attention to bake time. All seemed to be ready when we were.

Eat healthy and enjoy. Bon appetit!

Ro Giencke - April 25, 2012

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