Very stressful driving in the city & kitchen skills

April 20, 2017

I started late hoping to avoid the city jam….but no luck. Soon found myself crawling like a snail with other snails. I am not used to stop and go driving. Not at all. I am more accustomed to driving desolate plantation roads where one seldom ever sees traffic for miles at a stretch…. it takes all my concerntration just to remind myself I am in the city….very stressful.

I was called to share my culinary skills with a group of aspiring chefs on how to properly prepare Norwegian salmon – salmon just happens to be one of those dishes that comes across as deceptively simple….but it’s really more complicated than just throwing a slab of fish in a skillet.

For one even in commercial kitchens 99 out of 100 it’s done all wrong – result: the skin has a tendency to come across as slimy and the meat is very often dry and flavorless.

The right way to pan fry salmon is to first pat dry the fish completely on both sides and set it aside for fifteen minutes spread out on a paper towel with a light sprinkling of flour to create a crispy outer shell – usually salt and pepper and a dash of thyme is enough. Less is more when it comes to oily fish. As salmon has a natural flavour and over spicing it tends to rob the fish of its elemental aroma and sweetness.

Just let the fish do 99% of the job.

Heat up a dollop of butter, lash with finely chopped garlic and set it skin side to fry for a whole minute while pressing it gently down with a spatula….professional tip: NEVER place the raw salmon in the middle of the pan. That dries it out. Always fry in one corner of the pan, as this will allow for more heat control by removing the pan from the flame and tilting the pan so that the fish oils are further infused into the fish during the frying process. Doing it this way also allows for the fish to be flipped with minimal movement to avoid breakage. Always use a spoon to ladle oil to further fry and render the top side brown and crispy – this ensures the meat doesn’t dry out too much thereby retaining all its juices. Avoid the temptation of moving the fish too much with a spatula. Instead shift and tease by moving the pan, otherwise the fish will break and juices will seeped out. Do the same for the otherside and don’t forget to fry the sides as well.

This was the best of the lot…the color is just right. As for the taste it’s not overcooked and done to perfection retaining the springiness and crumbly texture of salmon without coming across as too dry and flavorless. The presentation is simple and elegant depicting a fern in lightly whipped mustard vinegarette,

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‘Youths absolutely need to take pride in their craft….once the element of pride has been successfully incorporated into a trade then and only then will it acquire the capacity to transform the mundanesss of work into some thing mythical, curious and magical.

Without this one vital X factor…work will just be a trudge…litany and grind and soon everything will begin to decay into mediocrity.

To convey this lasting attitude concerning the dignity of labor is seldom easy especially to a fickle minded audience such as youths – as usually this requires a certain level of showmanship and story telling skills.

But once one is able to successfully plant the magic seed there is an opportunity for every worker to find himself in work and that journey of self discovery can often be an intensely happy and edifying experience…suddenly the entire field of possibility IN work becomes much more than just work. Suddenly it is imbued with thinking quality…suddenly the worker isn’t just a monkey trained to pick coconuts.

As the labor has become a thinking thing….a delightful mystery filled with endless possibilities and wonder and curiosities.

The sleeper must awake…..’

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