it all began with a fish…

it seems like a lifetime ago…when i found myself pregnant, freshly released from the hospital in a house that was far too big for my needs (and too expensive to maintain)

i wish i could say “what was i thinking,” but sadly i kinda knew exactly what i was doing. the house was purchased to impress my mom (it was her kind of house). i blew a huge chunk of my “settlement” on it and it’s renovation. it was my lame attempt at rushing a semblence of stability. a place to raise a child and bring my brother to so he would recover, in a neighborhood Aslan loved.

i knew what i was doing…and when they offered me a probationary position…a last chance…within the company (“though MJ, i recommend you look somewhere else because you have a poor attendance record and tend to disappear without notice for months on end. we can’t keep covering that…”)

i had much to prove. (my life was carefully balanced on a tip of a pin before he decided to return. and what, precisely was he thinking? i was pregnant and completely unprepared for my impending future…pregnant…hardly an attraction)

i knew what i was doing…forward momentum…and when the company memo posted for our new family mealtime campaign…looking for inspired recipes…i went for it…unprepared, unskilled, untrained, no degree and only having three pans in my house (no measuring cups).

and the more they said i couldn’t do it…the more he stood firmly cheering me on from the sideline. and then one of my first three entries gained their attention. i remember calling him from the store the first time i saw it on display. (he was so very proud of me…you have no idea…you really, really have no idea! he was so proud of me! that…i had never known anyone who was proud of me before…)

i don’t even like fish!

Pine Nut Crusted Salmon

1/2 cup breadcrumbs, fresh
1/2 cup pine nuts
4 salmon fillets or steaks
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp shallot, minced finely
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter

for the sauce:

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cold butter
1 tsp minced dill (fresh)
salt and pepper to taste

Spread the breadcrumbs and pine nuts in a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Wash the salmon fillets. Pat dry, and brush with the Dijon mustard. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the salmon steaks, pressing to adhere to the fish. Heat the oil, butter and shallot in cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon, crumb-side down and cook until golden brown (about 3 to 5 minutes). Turn fish over and place skillet to oven. Bake 8 to 10 minutes on 350 degrees (or until cooked).

Preparing the sauce:

Reduce the lemon juice in a saucepan. Add the heavy cream and boil until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Add dill, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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