After all of these years I am still trying to understand the meaning of life. I've spent the past few months preoccupied with much of my past and wondering how I would redo things if I had the chance. There are ample improvements to be made if I could just rewind the clock. I have been trying to pin point and map out the decisions I made that had the biggest impact on my life, and to my dismay some of them were made spontaneously while others taken too lightly. You know you can worry yourself sick over things that you can't change. Although this exercise of looking in the rear view mirror has taught me how to better focus on the future.
There is one thing that I decided that I will never regret, and that is being a good friend to others. I've been lucky to have a handful of good girlfriends that have made life so much sweeter. If you are reading this, you know who you are and I hope you are reminded of how dearly I cherish your friendship.
We have returned from our short vacation recharged with a fresh perspective on life. It was just the jolt I needed to snap myself out of a cooking rut. My appetite for new and good recipes is regaining its former eagerness after being consumed for nearly a year by a little infant named Alex. This salmon recipe was one encounter that I found quite delectable. Steamed in parchment paper with a medley of wine soaked sun-dried tomatoes, herbs and onions, the salmon is infused with Mediterranean flavors while all at once kept moist and tender. You could serve your guests the unopened packets and let them unwrap them at the table like a gift, releasing the fragrant steam or you could open the packets in the kitchen and transfer the fish and sauce to dinner plates. Aluminum foil, although not as attractive, can be substituted for the parchment paper.
Salmon Baked in Paper (Salmone in Cartoccio)
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Italy, by Michele Scicolone
- 1 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup fruity red wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram or oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- zest from one lemon
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling paper
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 6 skinless salmon fillets, each about 6 oz. and of uniform shape
- In a small bowl soak the sun dried tomatoes in 1/2 cup red wine and 1/2 water for 3 hours, at least, in room temperature. Once rehydrated, drain the wine sauce and chop the tomatoes into bite size pieces.
- Preheat an oven to 400°F.
- In a small bowl, stir together the rehydrated sun dried tomatoes, shallots, marjoram, lemon juice, lemon zest, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Rinse the fish and pat dry. Season each fillet with salt and pepper. Cut 6 sheets of parchment or aluminum foil about 12 inches square. Fold each sheet in half, open like a book and brush the paper to one side of the crease with olive oil. Place a fillet on each oiled side. Spoon the tomato mixture over the fish, dividing it evenly.
- Fold the parchment paper over the fish. Tightly seal each package by folding the edges over several times and creasing firmly. Place the packages on 2 baking sheets.
- Bake until the salmon is opaque throughout, about 15 minutes. To check for doneness, open a package and pierce the fish with a knife.
- Slide the packages onto individual plates and allow the diners to open their own packages.