The silver lining meal

My daughter went to school today. Break out the champagne and celebrate! Sounds like a low bar, no? But heck, after the last 3 days, I’ll take it! You see, for the last few days Julia had a little pesky fever that simply would not go away. So, as every mother who has ever had a child stay home sick knows, nothing meaningful has gotten done.

It has been tough going- actually no going- in this house for the past few days and of course, because it is Murphy’s Law, my brother emailed me in the morning yesterday (Wednesday-my least favorite day of the week, remember?) to ask if he could to spend the night here. Oh, and could he come for dinner too? So, whether I wanted to or not, I was cooking.

Well, you know I love a good dinner on Wednesdays- and so I thought I would try a new recipe because at least that would get done. There had to be some accomplishment for three housebound days! So, inspired by the idea of finding a silver lining in a very stormy week, I dove into my one of my favorite cookbooks- Simple to Spectacular by Jean-Georges Vongerichten & Mark Bittman- and I came up with a gem: Slow-Cooked Salmon with Crunchy Lemongrass.

This dish is fabulous, fast and easy. We all loved it! The hardest part of the recipe is procuring the lemongrass! (You can usually find it at Whole Foods, a good green grocer, or Asian market.) Once that piece is out of the way, the rest is a cinch!

Even though this week has been a bust in so many ways, I did accomplish two things: Julia got better and I have a new recipe to add to my repertoire. Yay me!

Slow-Cooked Salmon with Crunchy Lemongrass

Adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten & Mark Bittman
Serves 4

The inner core of 2 stalks of lemongrass
1 small jalapeno
3 cloves of garlic
4 T butter
1 c panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 T cilantro, chopped
2 T basil, chopped
2 T mint, chopped
Four 6-8 oz center-cut salmon filets, preferably with the skin removed
Sea salt/pepper
½ c unsweetened coconut milk
1 T nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
¼ c fresh lime juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Mince together the lemongrass, jalapeno, and garlic. Put the butter in a medium skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When it melts, sauté the lemongrass mixture for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko and cook, stirring until they brown lightly, another minute or two Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro, basil and mint.

2. Place the salmon on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top the fish with the panko mixture and put the baking sheet in the oven.

3. Meanwhile make the sauce. In a small saucepan, mix the coconut milk, nam pla and lime juice. Warm gently.

4. Check the salmon after 12 minutes; it should flake. If it is not done- or you prefer it better done, return it to the oven for 3 more minutes. Serve immediately with the sauce and rice.

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