Plenty of time for an intellectual board game while cooking salmon. That sounds weird. Preparing something to eat, especially something as delicate as fish, usually doesn’t leave much room or head space to focus on anything else. However serving saumon confit – spelled in sexy French – for breakfast does free body and mind to dedicate attention to something else. That could be equally sexy. I mean chess.
An entire filet of about one kilo takes one and a half hour to cook. Theoretically it isn’t cooking. It’s confire. Which literally means preserving. This eldest conservation technique according to some, is done by inserting fruit or meat in fat, oil or sugar syrop for a long time on low temperature. Today we do not practice this medieval culinairy technique only to conserve. Like we no longer solely make love to produce babies. We do it to pleasure our senses. To capture our taste buds, merging delightfully, soft and pink, becoming one and complete in our mouth with the desire to feed ourselves.
The salmon filet we confit at a temperature as low as 70 Celsius. Hence the time for a game of chess. It’s drown in olive oil. Not ‘covered’, ‘generally sprinkled’ or ‘rubbed in’ with oil; the fish meat is immersed into a shallow bath of olive oil, just deep enough to completely succomb the pink, soft and slippery flesh. Size of the tray, weight of the filet and performance of the oven influence the confit time. It’s simple to determine though when the salmon is done. When white dots of congualated protein form at the outside of the flesh, the salmon is to be taken from the oven. Gently poor the warm olive oil over in a container to free the fish and stop the cooking process. Let the flesh breath and cool down. Please don’t cut the filet. Gently tear it apart. Preferably just with your fingers. And eat it. The sensation in your mouth, because of the super soft texture, the mellow fullness of butter, the sudden burst of deep and heavy pink flavor, are all as honorable of an homage to and hopefully reminscent of what you actually did in bed while waiting for the salmon to cook.
Yesterday I made love with the love of my life during five hours. We parted and I felt pretty depleted. Both emotionally and physically. We both went our ways, picking up our kids from different schools. At my kid’s school the Thursday market was on and my youngest daughter’s class due for bbq’ed sausages. As a raw-vegan culinary addict I love anything food related, including grilling supermarket sausages. Or is it the handing them out to kids and parents alike, I love? A few hours later, cold and almost dark outside now, I’d parked myself behind the stove in my own kitchen, baking mini pancakes made of many left over egg yolks (debris of croquettes made without liquid egg white to coat them), self raising flour, diary milk, turmeric, smoked red chillie and cumin. Creating and enjoying it, my senses fully open; it struck me. I want to discover what food is all about. Or what food and me are about. Our relationship, if I may.
Recipes of a pretty woman is meant to be a superficial account of what I do food related. Or maybe it is about all the senses. An expression of feelings, emotions, beauty, sadness, open or closed, restraint or let go, mixed with sweetness, spices, deliciousness and mishappenings, sensuality and short cuts. But most of all it will surpass the mind, logic and the world as we understand it.