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Naked Grilled Wild Sockeye Salmon, Eggplant, Zucchini, Onions, Asparugus and Portabellas

032When you live in the mountains there’s no need for air conditioning.  As I understand it, the same often lies true for other areas like Boston, Manhattan (if you’re poor – or by the rest of the country’s standards- upper middle class), and probably large parts of the PacNorthwest.  Everywhere I’ve ever lived, we had air conditioning.  Largely because we spent the bulk of July approaching 100 degrees and over 85 % humidity.  Honestly, I don’t know how my grandmothers pulled it off.  Cause they definitely didn’t have air conditioning when they had little babies. 

Anyhow, I’m the fool who roasts a full turkey in the summer, but my in-laws are not.  And they live on the third floor, so I can’t really call them to town.  So – hence all the grilling.  I’m beginning to feel a bit like a Bobby Flay wannabe.  But things are going well, and you just can not beat the picturesque setting or the weather.  While jogging today, I was recalling the definition of the word bucolic from 8th grade vocab.  When you live in the Midwest, in a pseudo-city, the word bucolic is looked at with a sneer, as people think of it as the definition of boring farm country.  Trust me, here, bucolic makes you just want to roll over and die in bliss due to the unbelievable setting. 

Switching notes, my step-mom-in-law (how’s that for a description – from here on out, Susan or S-MIL) made me watch Waitress [1] tonight, with Keri Russell.  “Made” is way to strong of a word, encouraged is more appropriate or technically “really wanted me to watch so we could discuss” might be more suited.  I’m not a big TV/Movie person, I’m more of a conversation person, and generally, if someone recommends us watching a movie together, I either A) Avoid by making said party stay up too late drinking to start a movie or B) plainly state I’ve no interest in the subject matter for reasons 1, 2, and 3.  I have very strong aversions to certain subjects; I’m grossly opinionated and don’t enjoy watching dramatizations of  other peoples hardships.  For instance Titanic.  Seriously, the whole experience is so god damned sad in itself, why do we need to make up a fictious tragic love story to make me feel worse about the whole bit of it.  So, if you don’t know me and you’re recommending a movie, I don’t do A) INFIDELITY, B) UNWANTED CHILDREN OR PREGNANCIES, C) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE or D) TRAGIC FAMILY ABUSE.  I just don’t watch movies with these underlying themes.  I know these experiences exist and I’d be more than happy to volunteer for your campaign to exterminate them, but for the love of GOD a movie is supposed to be enertainment and a romanitic comedy encapsulating one of these four themes is just not a good way to spend my time.  It makes me sad, lonely and depressed. 

This is all coming off way too harsh.  Especially for a cooking blog.  The point being.  I totally remember why I didn’t want to watch the movie in the first place.  That said, Thank you, S-MIL!  Because, the way Jenna describes her creations of pie, makes me want to be a better person.  And the techniques I gathered from the recipes contained within were enough to inspire me to whip out a few pies of my own.  I could do without the drama, but I learned a lot.  And could tell that the late writer and director must have loved food and cooking every single bit as much as I do. 

God rest her soul. 

P.S. The recipe’s called Naked, cause there is barely anything on it.   

Naked Grilled Sockey Salmon, Eggplant, Zucchini, Onions, Asparagus and Portabellas

(Serves 4)

Just over 2 lbs Wild Sockeye Salmon

1 eggplant

2 large zucchini

1 white onion

3/4 a bunch or about 25 stalks skinny asparugus

4 portabella caps

olive oil

kosher salt or a flake salt

fresh ground pepper

a lemon, halved

Paul Prudhomme’s [2] Seafood Magic 

** Notes – sockeye came from Whole foods – skin on one side fillets.  Grilling pan came from Bed Bath and Beyond – seen here [3].  Really, Really coat your eggplant in olive oil.  Always buy more mushrooms than you think humanly possible to consume.  They shrink, and they’re just good. 

Rub both skin side and flesh side of salmon generously with olive oil.  Season flesh side with salt, pepper and Seafood Magic.  Cut eggplant into disks, squeeze with lemon juice.  Cut zucchini into half moons, by slicing lengthwise in half, then horizontally in 1/2 inch segments.  Cut onions into rings and leave intact.  Break asparagus to trim ends, and slice portabellas.  Brush all veggies with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. 

Preheat grill to 350 or medium heat.  Brush grill pan with olive oil and place veggies in sections, leaving off the asparagus and eggplant.  Add salmon and grill pan with veggies to grill.  Place eggplant directly on grill.  Cook 25 minutes at 300 stirring veggies occasionally or 15 minutes at 350.  Either way check occasionally to prevent scorching and brush with olive oil.  If you like your veggies really crisp and don’t mind charring go with the higher temp.  If you like your veggies gently browned, go with the lower temp.  Turn eggplant halfway and shuffle veggies on grill pan.  Add asparagus to grill pan in the last 8 minutes of chosen grilling time. 

Remove all to platter and serve immediately with Drizzling Balsamic Vinaigrette seen below. 

Drizzling Balsamic Vinaigrette

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

3/8 c. balsamic vinegar

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. water

large pinch kosher salt

sprinkling of fresh ground pepper

1/8 tsp. ground mustard

Whisk all ingredients together, then serve from cruet [4] or small pitcher.