Sesame Salmon- Just What The Doctor Ordered
I am going to step outside my usual duties behind the bar today. It’s almost Father’s Day and I want to make a small tribute to my dad. He’s not really a drinker– other than beer and wine. So a cocktail lifted in his honor just doesn’t feel right. I made a salmon dish instead. I hope my meaty Back Burner co-blogger doesn’t mind! I have a reason for overstepping and I’d like to share that with you.
If there is one thing that is universally true, it’s this. Sons are always trying to be half the man their old man was. Sometimes that formula gets tragically warped and a son spends his life trying to be twice the man his father was. But this is really two sides of the same coin.
In my case I will have to settle for half the man.
Because my father is a doctor. Not just a doctor, but a children’s heart doctor. And if that is not enough, he also volunteers his time at his local Free Clinic caring for the many of us who have fallen between life’s ever widening cracks. He has even traveled to 3rd world countries where he meets and diagnoses kids with heart defects. Heart defects that would have otherwise gone undetected and untreated.
People like my father with outsized talents (and undersized egos) are a rare breed. Sometimes being the son of a man like this is a little like climbing a ladder with uneven rungs. It’s hard to know how much progress you are making, or if it’s even worth the effort. But I guess that is part of being a son– to always wonder.
As a boy I was not good at the things fathers often want their sons to be good at. That was apparent at a young age. Which felt like a tragedy to me and defined a lot of my youth. Luckily for me my parents allowed me the space I needed to be good at the things I did enjoy. Things like spelling and geology. Which wasn’t always easy on them or me. But it was the right thing to do. Because that space allowed me to grow into a man who is happy with his place in the world. A man who can pick out an igneous rock at 100 paces!
I know he would answer, yes, and I know he would mean it. But that does not save me from the struggle all men have when they look into their father’s eyes.
I bring this blatant bit of sentimentality up because I saw a glimmer of something in my father’s eyes recently. It was really more of a slip of the tongue. But it showed me that maybe, yes, perhaps my father did understand me. It was a powerful moment for me. But like too many sons and their fathers we let the moment pass without mentioning it.
Because what was to mention anyway? It was such a silly thing. In fact it was a recipe.
I was visiting my dad, which I don’t do enough because an entire continent separates us. But on this visit my dad mentioned a meal I had cooked almost a decade earlier. I never thought my father noticed my interest in food. I mean why should he? We rarely discuss it. Besides, my mother was a far better cook than I. Ditto for my brother.
The funny thing is– 10 years ago I was just beginning to see how happy cooking made me. Any cooking I did at that time had to have been baby steps. Because the recipe my father remembered was a very simple salmon recipe. I think I got the idea from Martha Stewart Living magazine. I gave it an Asian vibe and added sesame seeds, shichimi-togarashi and a wasabi mayonnaise. But the technique for rolling this salmon was all Martha’s.
I haven’t made this recipe in years. So I made it for you today. I can’t tell you happy it made me to cook it again. GREG