To preface this experiential epicurean column, one must be informed that, like most dying print forms, the traditional cookbook/column is being replaced by the easier-accessed and whimsically-inclined Internet. Therefore, we offer an evening’s revelries rooted in cooking, with malleable recipes that should be fine tuned to individual tastes. If the reader is curious as to specific measurements, we’re sure Google has the answer.
We had missed my good friend Ian’s birthday celebration in Ingonish and so decided to belatedly bestow upon him a fine home-cooked meal and an evening with a few friends as restitution for our previous absence. My girlfriend, Lindsay, and I decided upon a maple-glazed salmon, lemon-roasted potatoes and seared asparagus.
To begin, we mixed up about a quarter cup of pure maple syrup, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, pepper and garlic, thinly sliced. We placed four salmon fillets in a glass baking dish and covered them in the marinade. We put the salmon in the refrigerator then walked to the liquor store.
Upon our return, we flipped the salmon and opened a bottle of white wine. We chose Astica Sauvignon Blanc, an Argentinean wine we enjoy because of its crisp and fruity flavour, but mostly because it’s a decent wine for under ten bucks.
I cut a bunch of potatoes into chunks, soaked them in cold water for about ten minutes, strained then covered them in olive oil, butter, dried rosemary, pepper, sliced fresh garlic and the juice of one lemon. I set the oven at probably 400 degrees or something and threw them in. They took about an hour. During this time, it is recommended for your dinner guests to arrive and open a few more bottles of wine. We all felt pretty warm-hearted by dinnertime.
With the potatoes near completion, I reduced the oven temperature to 350 or thereabouts and threw in the salmon. I then trimmed the asparagus and seared them for around five minutes on the stove set at medium heat in a pan with butter, sliced garlic, pepper. I added sesame seeds to the vegetables just before removing them from the heat.
The fish was ready in about ten or fifteen minutes and we gathered round the table to enjoy the meal. Emily brought over a birthday cake and I threw “Sixteen Candles” by The Crests on the record player because it’s got that great “Happy Birthday, baby” intro. Ian managed to blow out all of his candles and we all celebrated with shots of Absinthe.
The birthday celebrations eventually moved to the basement where we shot up all our empty bottles with my .177 Calibre Daisy BB gun. Gavin wrote a song honouring our BB prowess that night. I believe Emily recorded a performance, complete with Ian’s attempts to fire the gun on time with the beat. The tune is called, “We’re Shootin’ Guns.” Go figure.
So that’s how you make a baked maple glazed salmon for your friend. Start with booze, add food and shoot guns. Call it a birthday.