My husband and I recently met a great new couple. Fun, smart, easy-going, and they have two kids about the same age as ours. For all intents and purposes, they seemed “normal.” When they first extended a dinner invitation to us at their home, we happily accepted.
As we drove up to their house, however, I instantly felt out of my league. Their front lawn alone is big enough for our house. And that was nothing. Entering their front door, I thought, “So, this is how the other half lives.” Three living rooms, five bedrooms (each with their own private bath), a mudroom that a mother of six would fantasize about, a detached guesthouse. And the kitchen? Jaw-dropping.
Luckily it turned out, they are normal—well, normal, if you’re used to socializing with people who own a yacht—and we had a great time. So when they asked us to come back again, we looked forward to it.
The second invitation, though, came with a special request. Would I do the honors of cooking and make use of their kitchen? Because they don’t, of course. (Why is it that everyone who has an amazing kitchen, doesn’t actually cook?) We would also be joined by another couple, the husband of which was employed by the ultimate seafood supply company in the Twin Cities.
Once I got over my anxiety of: a) cooking for someone who probably works around top-notch food people; and b) creating in a kitchen I’m unfamiliar with, the size of Manhattan, I was able to actually focus on the food.
Seafood Guy would kindly provide me with anything I’d like. My choice of any fish or crustacean, for real? I had goose bumps just thinking about it. I hemmed and hawed. Scallops, perhaps? No, wait. Oysters. I rarely get to have oysters. But soft-shell crab is in season. Hmm. Oh, maybe whole trout…
I made my decision. I was going to make Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops in a Chive Butter and Egg Sauce (sounds fabulous, right?). But at the last minute, I found out one of the fine diners has an allergy. Heavy sigh.
All was not lost. I went with this salmon dish, since I know it’s delicious and sure to please. The sauce is a perfect complement to salmon, mellowing its strong flavor. And bonus: health benefits of Omega-3, fiber content, very little fat, and by leaving out the optional butter, it’s perfect for anyone with a dairy allergy. It did not disappoint.
We went home with smiles on our faces and full bellies. And this is what I learned:
1. Most kids will eat just about anything if you drown it in mustard or ketchup.
2. I like my tiny kitchen. My food tastes just as good. And I don’t break a sweat walking from the sink to the garbage can.
3. Having a lot of money allows you to buy lots of big statues.
Broiled Salmon with Mustard Lentils
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
• Oil for pan
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 tablespoon prepared minced garlic
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 4 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 (14 ounce) can prepared lentils, rinsed and drained
• salt and pepper
• 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
• 4 (6 ounce) skinless salmon fillets
Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches from heat. Place salmon fillets on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil for 8-10 minutes or until opaque throughout.
While the salmon is cooking, heat some olive oil in a large pan over medium. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, and mustard; cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lentils and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the butter, if using.
Place the salmon onto 4 plates, flaking it into large pieces; top with the lentil mixture.