Before we moved to the giant jungle of New York City, surrounded by tons of friends who *possibly* see babies in their distant 10-year plan, and ohhhhh, zero grandparents, we lived in a quaint (read: tiny) house in Maryland. There, Carlitos had three sets of grandparents, two aunts, numerous step-aunts, cousins and a backyard.
It was dreamy.
My husband’s family all lives there already and my parents, upon learning that their hussy lovely daughter was pregnant, sold their home and moved down there, too. There was a lot of ‘home shuffling’ the first year: apartments and condos in various areas of D.C. for my parents and ourselves. But then we found that tiny cottage in Maryland and my parents moved two streets away.
It was awesome.
We, of course, assumed they moved that close because they wanted to spend every waking second with us and help raise our child. While this may have been their original sentiments also, I think reality quickly settled in. Suddenly they were all using words like ‘boundaries’ and ‘visiting hours’ and saying things like ‘We do have a life outside of you guys.’ and ‘Why don’t you just go HOME! That’s your HOME! Are too good for your HOME! ANSWER ME!’
I’m kidding of course…in that honest sort of way.
The one time we always knew we would be welcome was when we offered to cook. Aha! Loophole! It was really a win-win: My parents would pay for fabulous produce at the town farmer’s market and top quality fish at Whole Foods…plus usually some wine that cost more than $6.99. (Show offs) We would cook them a delicious meal while they played with their grandson. And then my dad would do the dishes. Alright, so it was more like:
Us = win, win, win
Them = win
But still, everyone was happy. And nobody was giving us side eye when we started to take our coats off to stay awhile.
I think the favorite meal we created on one of these occasions was a recipe from Giada de Laurentis. Frankly, she annoys me. I watched her show one time and she was making toast with Nutella and sliced strawberries. That is just a slap in the face. Like, Look at me! I have a million amazing family connections, got myself this here cooking show and just to throw it in your face that I had all of this awesomeness handed to me without earning it in the slightest I will get up here and show you how to make toast!
She’s like that chick who owns Dylan’s Candy Bar. Yeah, my dad is a little someone named Ralph Lauren. Heard of him? So, I could do just about anything in the universe I wanted to with my life. Focus on charity? Start a well-run business? Do anything productive with my fortuitous fortune? Nope. I think I will half-ass a candy store but still get tons of publicity because of who my daddy is, yo. Have you ever been in a Dylan’s Candy Shop? Useless.
But I digress.
I did, grudgingly, try this one recipe of Giada’s and I have to admit it is bangin’. Girl makes toast on TV but this recipe is elegant and complex (flavor-wise, not in difficulty) so…she clearly stole it. So…I am stealing it from her. (But obviously actually giving her credit since I just spent three paragraphs talking about how it is hers. Don’t sue me, G.) I altered it slightly this time and used onions instead of shallots, but I can admit it is better in it’s original form.
This dish is the perfect meal to welcome Spring…and to keep the summer running as far into the Fall as possible. Mint? Lemon? Peas? It’s freshness and brightness and flirtatiousness galore to wake your taste buds out of their winter roasted brussel sprouts and beef crockpot variations stupor.
And if you ever start to feel like you are over staying your welcome somewhere, offer to make this. Just don’t forget to ask the host for their credit card so you can go buy the ingredients on their dime. They love that part.
(Even though I did replace shallots with onions this time, this is honestly a recipe that I enjoy best in it’s original form, so if you just click the link above it will take you to her recipe. I know, I have some serious brass cojones to talk trash and then link to her recipe, but I am who I am.)
We don’t have a microwave, so I just put a tiny bit of water and turned the heat on really low until the peas were defrosted. You can also just leave them out for about 30-60 minutes ahead of time if you plan ahead. But if you’re the type to plan ahead, why are you reading this blog? Go find Martha.
He strikes again! At least hand sanitizer is easier to clean up than foot powder. This serves as proof that I feel you that cooking legit meals is hard with kids – and it is why my kids are often eating mac n cheese and pre-cooked chicken sausage with frozen lima beans – BUT a little mess in the foyer is worth it sometimes.
When cooking the fish, warm the oil in the pan at medium, put it in skin side down and cover. Keep at medium heat and do not flip! Once the top of the fish starts looking opaque you know it is cooked through and the skin will be perfectly crispy. Give your kids the salmon skin with a smile on your face and they will devour it…and then they will be wicked smart. I’m totally not kidding.
My final tip? Cut the salmon into serving-size filets BEFORE cooking. I cooked the whole fish this time and then tried to cut into servings after and the plates ended up downright ugly (hence no final photo). When cut ahead of time, placed on top of the puree and then surrounded by the lemon brodetto, this is a dish that would even impress your mother-in-law. Gorgeous.