October 23, 2012
My best friend got married recently. Right at this moment, she's on the plane flying to the other side of the world to start her new life. For the sake of her love, she left behind her job, her family, her newly furnished super elegant apartment but most important of all, me.
We are friends since the first day of school when we were dropped off by our parents to the deserted, cold dormitory in the middle of nowhere. When she left the dorm in ninth grade (her home was not far from school) I made a habit of spending wednesday nights at her place. A break from the horrid dorm life was heavenly as it was, but taking break from cafeteria food with her mother's cooking made those evenings even more memorable. From almond biscottis we dipped into warm milk while watching Miss Turkey, to stir fried chicken which was the first home cooked Chinese food of my life, I thoroughly remember each and every delicious thing her mother fixed for our teenage stomachs. This lentil salad is and has been one of my favourite things that occasionally appeared on their dining table and ever since I took up interest in cooking, I wanted its recipe. My dear friend persistently avoided me and despite my reassurance that I wasn't going to publish it in my blog, she kept dragging it. Yet when she finally forwarded it to me from her mother, she consistently asked me when and if I ever I was going to publish the recipe. Yes, my friend can be a little confusing sometimes.
Surprisingly enough, despite (or as a result of) her mother's gifted cooking, my friend is a little unenthusiastic in the kitchen. And when I say little I'm being generous: she hates admitting it but she is simply indifferent to cooking. When I recently asked her how she will manage 'the cooking issue' now that she has a husband to take care of, she said that she is counting on a little booklet her mother has prepared for her with all of her recipes. I got all excited and asked for a copy but she firmly said no.
I understand her hanging on to her mother's recipes like treasure, which they are, but I don't see why other people shouldn't benefit from them. As determined as she sounded, I know that once her plane lands, she will turn on her phone and see this post in her inbox that I dedicated entirely and solely to her. Upon seeing how much I care for her, she will deeply be touched. To reciprocate my gesture, she will send me a copy of that precious booklet. (Luckily, my birthday too is around the corner.) She doesn't have to, I would still love her if she didn't but I know she will because she is the most kind, generous, good-hearted friend I've got.
And why the salmon? Boringly, it doesn't have any story behind. I improvised the recipe after eating it in a restaurant in Istanbul. The tangy touch of orange and vinegar became indispensable for me ever since I figured out the recipe, to the extent that salmon tastes almost dull to me without it. Originally served with fennel salad, I paired it with my friend's mother's lentil salad simply because I simultaneously had a craving for them both. I wouldn't bet on the perfection of this coupling but I nevertheless enjoyed every bite of it.
Gül's Lentil Salad
- 1/4 cup green lentils soaked in water overnight
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 1 handful fresh parsley, minced
for the sauce:
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, mashed
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered sugar
- salt to taste
1) Drain and boil lentils in 2 cups of salted water until soft for about 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
2) Combine garlic, mustard, salt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil. You should have the sauce ready by the time lentils are cooked. Drain lentils, put them ina bowl and pour over the sauce while they are still hot. Lentils absorb a lot of sauce so you should prepare more sauce if necessary. Don't stir too much or lentils will fall apart. When cooled add spring onions and parsley.
Orange Glazed Salmon
- 1 salmon fillet
- 1 tablespoon orange rind
- juice of one medium orange
- 1 tablespoon red vine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or sunflower oil
- salt and pepper to taste
2) Grease a non-stick pan and heat over medium-high heat. Place the salmon fillet skin side down and brush it with orange glaze. Sear for 5 minutes. Carefully flip with the help of a spatula, brush with glaze and sear for 5 minutes. When the middle of the fillet is pale pink remove the fillet from the pan.
3) Pour the remaining glaze into the hot pan. Stir over high heat to obtain a thick sauce. Pour the glaze over the salmon fillet and serve.