Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seeking Comfort with an Avocado, Apple and Poached Salmon Soup

If you have been following this blog for some time, it will be no surprise to you that I have a tremendous sense of melancholy and nostalgia when it comes to food and all memories associated with it.

I very much romanticize about the act of cooking and eating.

Through the process of writing this book, I have dug deep into my childhood and growing up in a family of cooks. It seems as though every important event in my life has an aroma and taste associated with it. Whether it may be the smell of wet dirt still attached to the roots of leeks in the winter or the crackling sound of olive oil poached potatoes, food is the background of many of the stories of my life.

The soundtrack of my life. Yo La Tengo and food.

I spent large part of last week writing food-related stories, both past and current. I felt the connection to my past and I recognized an enhanced romanticism when I wrote about it.

"Was it all this wonderful?" I thought to myself. So hard to distinguish sometimes. I thought about it a lot over the weekend. I'm sure you relate to this feeling as well.

I can be in my head quite a bit sometimes and by Saturday, I started to feel a bit homesick. Too much thinking and too much writing drove me to the edge of exhaustion.

I called my best friend Jill who even from Italy, manages to sense how I am doing. "I cannot read your blog sometimes" she said. "I know you too well for that".

I got it. I knew what she meant.

I had finished and submitted another book chapter to my editor by Saturday, so I took the weekend off from thinking, writing, editing, and all things work-related.

I quickly blended a soup of avocados, cucumber, and apple. Served it with olive oil-poached salmon, radishes, and watercress.

For dessert, last year's apricot tart. The simplest tart you can make.

I needed to experience cooking and food in a practical way, not always needing to associate it to an emotion or a feeling.

But is that even possible?

Not sure I am good at that, especially when I end up photographing what I have cooked. Then, food takes another dimension once again as photographing means recreating the moment, the mood in which this dish was created. Photographing means creating an emotion.

I just cannot escape it.

Avocado and Apple Soup with Poached Salmon

Serves 4

8 oz salmon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

2 ripe avocados, peeled, pit removed and diced
1 medium green apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
Juice of half a lemon
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Season the salmon with salt and pepper. In a small saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until warm. Submerge the salmon and let it cook slowly for 5 to 7 minutes until the outside is no longer opaque but center is still slightly pink.

Meanwhile, puree the avocados, apple, cucumber, onion, vegetable stock, salt and pepper in a blender. Adjust seasoning. It will be thick. Add more stock if desired.

Serve the soup at room temperature with the flaked salmon, radishes, green onions and some watercress leaves.

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