I’ve been putting off cooking this for a few weeks because I’ve been getting over a long flu. For days I couldn’t make myself eat anything but yogurt and rice, and wound up throwing out half the food I cooked for myself. I just couldn’t finish eating my filets of sole baked in fig leaves or or my banana walnut bread or my apple and Gorgonzola crisp or even my chicken and rice soup. They went into the trash, from whence they came.
What I had been saving was a large cut of salmon. In the past I’ve cooked salmon according to one recipe: place individual slices of filet skin-down across the grate of a broiler rack, coat the top with a thick layer of grated ginger, drizzle on a little soy sauce, and broil for fifteen minutes. I would do that now, except I had found another special ingredient: truffle butter. I was going to drown this salmon in truffle butter.
I am lucky I decided to season the salmon before cooking it, because somebody broke my pepper grinder. Imagine this happening in straight into the pan. I left some of the pepper on, though it was a coarser grind than I intended. I had gotten out the cutting board to cut the fish, but it turned out to have already been conveniently portioned.
I’m also lucky because my Powerball ticket won $35.
I started with the side dishes, because a good piece of fish deserves a good side dish, and because my favorite recipe for potatoes was going to take an hour and a half. Smashed potatoes go like this: bake your fork-pierced potatoes (any kind you’d want to eat the skin of, like red or yellow potatoes) on an oiled pan at around 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, until soft. Then raise the temperature to 475 and smash the potatoes flat with a spatula. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and cook 12-15 minutes, then flip them, add more oil and salt, and give them another 12-15 minutes. You can cheat and microwave the potatoes before smashing them but they won’t come out as crisp. I also steamed some asparagus, to be served with a little more of that butter.
The salmon itself was pan-fried in the butter, about seven minutes for one side and four for the other, and I spooned the butter over the top for the last minute of cooking because I’d seen a chef do that to a steak on TV. Then I let it rest for a bit while washing the dishes. And I dumped out the melted butter from the pan all over everything on my plate, because, well, I’m a hedonist.
That’s three meals worth of salmon, everything dumpstered except the salt and pepper.
I should also add that the grocery stores whose trash I get my food from participate in city food donation and composting programs– so this is what’s left after everything’s already been picked through once.