A Not So Genetic Inheritance

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

   Our parents impart a number of gifts, and sometimes curses, upon us. My parents certainly gave me their thirst for knowledge, an eternal self driven work ethic and the never ending suspicion that I can do better.

   They also encouraged my cooking, my drawing and my desire to read books cover to cover in a single day. They looked on in amusement when I doubted myself and always ignored my tendency to back out of major decisions at the last second (college, medical school, piano recitals... I infallibly ended up cowering in a corner just before the big moment, asking to be let off the hook, and inevitably grateful that I wasn't).

   My mother instilled perhaps the best gift of all. She insisted I put only the highest quality and tastiest of foods in my mouth.

   When the five of us were little (the whole brood only eight years apart in total) it would have been an incredible weight lifted from her shoulders to reheat microwave dinners or serve fast food picked up on my dad's way home from work. But she never did. My mom always served meals she concocted from scratch- brown rice, whole wheat bread. I remember her insisting whole grain spaghetti was going to be the next big thing a good number of years before celebrities and famous fitness gurus were waxing poetic about its benefits. She made cabbage soups, vegetable purees and stocked the bottom drawer of our fridge (our snack drawer) with fresh fruits and vegetables. One of my favorite pictures is of myself and my two older siblings, all within three years of each other and the oldest barely over the age of seven, enjoying giant, orange carrots from my grandmother's garden.

   My parents gifted myself and my siblings a childhood free of processed foods, high fructose corn syrup and harmful shortcuts to serving a meal. It was a joint effort on their part, but as a grown woman putting meals on a table daily, I now understand the immense effort my mother tirelessly put in. I couldn't be more grateful.

   True to form, she emailed me the following recipe not so long ago. Leafy greens, tasty fish redolent with omega-3's, a simple yet elegant composition- it is flavorful, healthy and indulgent all at the same time. This dish has my mother written all over it.

   Bon appetit.

Stuffed Salmon Fillets 
  • Two 6 ounce salmon fillets
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 sundried tomato in olive oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
   Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
   Place the spinach in a bowl and microwave until slightly wilted (around 30 seconds). On a cutting bored slice the basil thinly, then roughly chop the spinach. Mince the sundried tomato. Toss all of these together until incorporated.
   Along the thick side of the fillet, make a deep incision with a sharp knife, making it as wide as you can without cutting through the other side. Stuff each with the filling, dividing it evenly between the fillets. Sprinkle each fillet with olive oil, salt and pepper.
   Bake in a tin foil lined baking pan for 20 minutes or until it has attained your desired crispiness.
   Note: my mother recommends 1 tablespoon chopped pine nuts in the stuffing, but I didn't have any on hand so it was omitted. Still delicious.
   Serves 2.


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