My Simplest Grilled Salmon, a Summertime Staple

May 31, 2024
Dining & Wine
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Good morning. The nest that was empty is empty no more, as children return from college, as in-laws descend, and suddenly we’re up a few animals and down a few beds. The grocery bills are back to the mesosphere and yet we’re out of milk again, the second time in a week.

I’m at it like a line cook making staff meals for a neighborhood trattoria. Tonight: this excellent simply grilled salmon (above) to serve with orzo salad, thick with salty creaminess and slick sweet cucumbers, diced tomatoes, pops of chickpea, nodes of olive. Have some lemonade with that. We’ll talk theories and methods in American studies while we eat.


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Tomorrow it’ll be Jordan Marsh’s blueberry muffins for breakfast, Boston proud, and maybe Philly cheesesteaks for lunch, because how fun would those be to make and devour in advance of an afternoon nap?

Then: barbecue chicken for dinner, the sauce thinned out with water so I can paint it onto the meat constantly, allowing a crust to build without the sugars burning, alongside fluffy Cheddar biscuits, potato salad and a mess of cold, sliced vegetables with green dip. And rhubarb crisp for dessert?

Yogurt can greet Sunday, with plenty of cut fruit, and I’ll follow it up with tea sandwiches for lunch. It’s surprising how quickly you can get into the rhythm of cooking for a crowd. It hardly seems like work, at least for the first couple of weeks. (When you find yourself flagging, buy cold cuts, extra cereal, interesting cheeses, cherry tomatoes, chips and salsa. Say, “Today, you are on your own.”)

Sunday’s dinner: steamed lobsters, parboiled baby potatoes rolled in hot butter and lots of roasted asparagus. Oh, stop. I’ve done the math on this. At least where I stay, it’s cheaper to buy lobsters than to order food from the place that papers the neighborhood with menus. Steamed lobster on a Sunday night sends a message: It’s summer and we’re American, living our lives in an imaginary Elin Hilderbrand novel. Save the steaming liquid for stock!

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Now, it’s nothing to do with bergamot or prunes, but I had a good enough time watching “A Man in Full” on Netflix that it got me to dive back into the Tom Wolfe novel on which it’s based. (Michael Lewis raved it in The Times in 1998.)

Speaking of the old days: Here’s Ross Barkan on Jimmy Breslin in The Point.

Staying on message, you should read Abe Streep, in The New Yorker, on Nova Scotia’s billion-dollar lobster wars.

Finally, here’s Little Feat, “Why People Like That.” Play that nice and loud while you’re cooking. I’ll see you on Sunday.

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