My memory has gotten so much better and so much worse with time. I attribute the latter with how much I use my phone. When I’m on it, I cannot piece together parts of a conversation I just had. I can’t complete my sentences and I genuinely feel lost until I put it down and yes, forget about it.
When I say that it has gotten better, I don’t really know what I’m comparing it to. I never had myself tested and I’m not a genius. Today, I was sitting down with a pencil colour in my hand. I was holding it parallel to the paper as I rubbed it against the paper. “Shading,” I thought. “Didn’t dada teach us how to do this?” was my very next thought. I have no idea how I remembered that and there is no way I can verify this.
Do you ever have those thoughts? If they were a food, I would call them a consommé. It’s all rich and egg-y to begin with but when all the impurities cling to the albumin cloud, what is left behind is a crystal clear delicious stock.
My brain is consommé most of the time. How did I not think of this before?
I don’t know if you’ve lost someone significant in your life yet but this superpower turns out to be my one and only favourite part of grief. I can remember so many tiny beautiful moments of my life that I have never thought of until right now when I was shading address labels and turning them into stickers.
Some of the time I am 100% sure of the memory. Today, I wasn’t. I just felt something light up in my brain and assumed it was true. For all I know, it could have been Jane who taught me the art of literal and metaphorical shade but I will chalk this down to the dead people fairies who visit us from time to time, sometimes bringing with them smiles and other times metal hooks to rip out your heart from your chest.
Grilled salmon with ponzu-dill mayo and fried capers
I realise that I’m in a dill phase with these recipes but this is a real-time real life food blog. If I have a lot of dill to use, I am going to make recipes that include it. If you have another herb like parsley or mint at your disposal, those would go very well as a substitute. The fried capers here are a true revelation. They tie together everything in this recipe. Don’t skip them.
Special equipment: A grill and 1 cedar plank, soaked in water for at least 2 hours
- 230 gms or 1/2 lb fresh salmon, centre bones removed
- 1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. ponzu
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 small onion, sliced into thin slivers
- 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- Salt, pepper and more dill, to finish
Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Debone and salt the salmon 15 minutes before putting it on the grill. You might need a 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt. You can do these step while the grill is heating up. Place the salmon on the plank and put it on the grill.
If you’re using a charcoal grill, don’t put the plank directly over the coals. Instead, use indirect heat by setting it to the side, adjacent to the hot charcoal. Cover the grill and let it cook for 20-30 minutes. Remove it off the grill with grilling mittens or 2 pairs of tongs pinching the plank on either side. Basically, be careful.
Once the salmon has cooled, flake it into bite sized chunks and set aside.
Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat and pour in the vegetable oil. Heat the oil till it starts to look shimmery on the surface. Add the capers to the oil and fry them until they darken in colour and get a little crispy. This should take about 2 minutes. Remove them from the pan and allow them to cool.
To make the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, ponzu, rice vinegar, ginger, dill and paprika in a small jar. Taste it and add in the salt. Some of you might think it’s salty enough without the salt but I didn’t. This is my sneaky way of training you to always taste and salt everything as you go. Dressing can be made 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated.
In a large serving platter, create a base layer of spinach, half the onion slivers and half the tomatoes. Add the chunks of salmon on top of this and then top with the remaining onion and tomato. Spoon dollops of the mayonnaise dressing on top of the platter and top with the fried capers. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle more dill on top for garnish.
Serve at room temperature.