A few of the people in my life are very interested in the Five Love Languages, a book and an online quiz that describes different ways people show and prefer to receive affection. These include words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. While learning about this, I couldn't help thinking, “Where’s the food?” I have always shown affection for my loved ones through food and cooking. I must have learned this from my family, who, instead of asking how your day was, will instead ask what you had for dinner. The majority of our bonding moments are centered around a home-cooked meal. I am also infamous for tearing up over a well-timed gift of food. A close friend of mine thoughtfully provided this salmon, which her sister caught in Alaska. Of course, no tears sprung to my eyes-- I'm not crying, you are!
Anyways, I made a delicious meal for the little family I've made for myself in Portland, and we sat down together to share food and love.
1 salmon steak with skin on
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
2 pears, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
Zest from one lemon
Salt and pepper
Thinly sliced lemon for serving
Cut salmon into individual portions with a sharp knife. Score skin ¼” deep and about 1 inch apart to help the skin crisp and the salmon to cook evenly. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper, and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper. Sprinkle with about half of the lemon zest. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon skin side down and cook for about three minutes until skin is crispy and the side of the salmon has turned opaque on the thickest part. Add 1 tbsp butter, allow to melt, then flip salmon over and cook for another one to two minutes. Remove salmon from skillet and set aside. Add remaining 1 tbsp butter and fennel to the pan and sauté over medium heat for two minutes. Add pears and season with salt, pepper, and most of the remaining lemon zest (save a little for garnish). Cook until the mixture is tender but not mushy. Top salmon with fennel and pear mixture, garnish with lemon zest, fresh fennel leaves, and lemon slices. Round out this meal with rice and perhaps a salad, and voila. (Chef’s kiss) Everyone is impressed with your fancy meal and little did they know probably only took 30 minutes to make.