Portrait of a Simple Summer Meal

A groggy mix of chili, ginger, salted blackbean and enough sugar, sesame and soy rounds out a sauce that will cook the outer bits to pure, crispy ocean bacon perfection and hold together the inside flesh in a buttery smooth celebration of salmon.

Don’t cook the salmon too long! Just get it HOT. Get it where it just sets up inside. It’s done! This is soft eating: bites of spicy, sweet, held up by preserved black beans and faintly perfumed with ginger and garlic. No chewing allowed … bite gently down and let it all come forth playing with each of the flavors mixing with the bits of crispy outside. Chinook salmon is rarely better.

And the green beans … bright green, early season, snappy tender just-can’t-turn away invitations. Steam them gently and they will reward even the most indifferent of us green bean wanna-be-lovers. Haste may be the order here! Toss generously in fruity olive oil, flat parsley along with that young, sweet onion just pulled and maybe a dash of pepper for good measure. Sea salt pulls it all together. Set it in the hot oven while the salmon finishes none too soon. This is one step past warmed but well shy of what might be considered “cooked”.

The crusty bread is just a vehicle for fragrant basil, green garlic, and shaved parmesan with a bit o’ butter under it all. It adds a needed chew to the party.

Small bites are the rule all around.

Dessert follows suit: the first tree ripened peaches of summer. The kind with a firm give under the weight of a finger. Sliced with the sharpest of knives and tossed with this morning’s strawberries and raspberries under a dollop of goat yogurt.

Somewhere along the way, life slips into the sublime….

note: this started out as another poem trying to capture a moment in time… I’m not sure where it landed: somewhere between recipe, description and an attempt to share a little food joy. These basic meals, when everything is still quivering from the vine, branch or water have the uncanny ability to stop time altogether….

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