A Success for a Novice in Cooking
Last week, I decided to try my hand at cooking something other than grilled cheese, turkey & spinach sandwiches, cheesy vegetable-ridden omelets or pasta. If you’d ask my roommates, they would probably chuckle at the thought of me making anything other than the aforementioned dishes. However, to my pleasant surprise the cooking went quite well, although I was running around the kitchen trying to do seven things at once because I wasn’t quite sure how to strategically execute the cooking of an actual three-course meal. That knowledge will come with time and additional experience, they say! Fortunately, the end product received an A+ from those who consumed it (including me!). So, just what did this meal consist of? I decided to make baked salmon and a fantastic sauce, brown rice, sautéed vegetables and a great big colorful salad.
My grandma, who has more than 80 years of cooking experience, always tells me you must strictly follow a recipe when you are a novice in the realm of cooking, but I decided to try my hand at a little experimentation. Online I found a recipe for something called “Chive Tarragon Sauce,” and away I went! I loosely followed the recipe, but I also put my own spin on it, and it turned out to be quite delicious!
Here is the final concoction:
½ cup white wine
2/3 cup chopped fresh chives
3 sprigs of fresh tarragon leaves
1 Roma tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
Salt and black pepper, season to taste
Heat the wine in a medium-sized frying pan, and then add the chives and tarragon. After a minute or so, add in the butter, consistently stirring the concoction. Add the tomato as soon as the butter has melted, season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste and serve over salmon. This concoction’s prep time totals about 10 minutes, from the start of chopping the herbs and tomato to adding the last ingredient while the mixture is cooking on the stove top.
As for the salmon, I recommend baking two hand-sized (4’’x6’’) chunks of salmon at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a small rectangular pan. Before you put it in the oven, grease the pan with soft butter, put three tablespoon-sized chunks of hard butter on the bottom of the pan and put four circular slices of lemon on top of each salmon fillet. My grandma said the key to a tasty salmon fillet is simplicity! Using your best judgment and/or previous cooking experience (I must say, even if you’re a novice like me, you can do it!), season the fish only minimally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Now it is time to bake it! My grandma also told me the worst thing one could do is overcook salmon. So, I put the salmon in the oven for about 15 minutes and then checked to see if it “flaked nicely” when I put the fork in it. It didn’t, so I put it in for awhile longer, checking incessantly to make sure it didn’t look overcooked! Ultimately, the salmon was in the oven for about 20 minutes. The other dishes were quite easy to prepare, as I am an expert in salad preparation, which, I’d like to point out, does not involve a stove OR an oven!
So, for all you folks out there with a hidden knack for cooking, simply follow these instructions, or, if you feel so inclined, dare to experiment! Bon appétit!