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Love in a piece of fish

May 26th, 2009 | 11 Comments »

I’ve always considered myself a pretty flexible, go with the flow kind of person, and nowhere is that more evident than in the food that I will eat. I’m no gourmet and I don’t require an exotic or complicated meal ever; I’m just as happy to chomp through a grilled brat as I would be to sit in front of half a dozen fancy courses at dinner. No one has to worry about cooking me something amazing if I am invited to dinner. Even though I prefer eating healthier options, I’m OK with eating a wide range of foods, and flexibility is key to happy indulgence and peaceful co-existence. I never want to be considered a diva about food.

At one point in my life I was dating a very nice guy and it seemed like it might be getting serious. Then one evening for a meal, I suggested that we have salmon.

“Oooh, I don’t really like salmon.” Was what he said, or something like that.

This statement gave me pause.

“You don’t like salmon?” I said, gazing at him quizzically, mentally tossing out all those ‘permanent’ thoughts I was starting to entertain. How could I be serious about a man who didn’t eat salmon?


“It’s just too dry and flavorless.” (or something like that. It’s possible I may have blocked out some of this conversation to save my sanity)

“Hmmm.” I was scratching my chin and trying to think of something witty. But I couldn’t.

“Well, would you try it if I make it?” And thankfully he agreed.

It was a delectable Maple Glazed Salmon that the guy actually liked. A lot.

And apparently he liked a whole lot more too.


You see, there was a lot at stake in the appreciation of that piece of fish.


I can’t say that it was just that piece of perfectly cooked salmon that set in motion three lives to be intertwined forever, nor was it the multitudes of perfectly cooked fish that have crossed our plates since then. I just know that slightly more than 8 years ago, I met a man who didn’t much care for fish and with one plate of plump pink salmon, the future seemed pretty rosy.

And we sealed it all with a kiss.


I’m sure you could be wondering…. did he fall in love with me, or with my cooking?

I’m certain it was me, because at that point in my life, while I was a pretty good cook, it paled in comparison to what happens in my kitchen these days and it was that salmon that seemed to be the start of my epic culinary journey. I had concocted a delicious recipe for Maple Glazed Salmon and submitted it to a magazine, which somehow got them all excited and itching to talk to me, which led to a two-page spread about ‘Cooking Healthy for Your Family’ that included my Salmon recipe, photos of all of us and lots of nice words. This was in the Spring issue of Reiman’s Light and Tasty magazine way back in 2003. The following year, after submitting my most favorite veggie pizza recipe to a ‘Meatless Marvels’ contest and winning a Runner-Up prize, I looked at what I wanted in my life and felt like food was the key. Healthy food. Better for you food. Not your Mama’s food.

maple glazed salmon 004And to think that all that love, that nurturing and contentedness, and 8 years with a great guy (nearly 7 of them married), all that started somewhere back around a piece of fish, with a willingness to be open to potential and the flexibility needed to understand that life isn’t always the way you might imagine. Or remember.

maple glazed salmon 009This recipe is quite simple, and stands up well to the assertiveness in salmon. I don’t recommend it for lighter and mild fish such as tilapia, halibut or mahi mahi, but it would be equally welcome on pork or chicken if that suits you. Use top quality maple syrup too.

Kate’s Maple Glazed Salmon

2/3 c. pure maple syrup
1 T. worchestershire sauce
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. ketchup
1 T. cider vinegar
1/2 t. ground mustard

1 salmon fillet, or two steaks

In a small saucepan, blend all ingredients together and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and darker in color. Pour into a heat-proof container, such as a pyrex measuring cup, to cool, whisking regularly. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the container in a bowl of cold water and whisking briskly.

Brush about half the glaze onto the salmon and allow to sit for up to 30 minutes. Heat a skillet to hot and place the coated salmon, glaze down in the pan. Allow to cook until nicely browned and the glaze is bubbling. Carefully turn over, brush on more glaze and cook over lowered heat until cooked through, but still tender. Salmon can be served drizzled with remaining glaze.

The side dish in the photo is a blend of cooked barley, wheatberries and spinach, with plenty of shaved parmesan cheese.

11 responses to “Love in a piece of fish”

  1. Melissa says:

    Great story, great post. I came here through Kim’s most recent post, as I was touched by your remarks to her about being ‘real’. Thanks for the great reads. 🙂

  2. Marianne says:

    I love happy endings … and this story is happy, although your wedding was a actually a beginning! Lovely bride and lovely recipe!!!

  3. Doni says:

    SO awesome! Those pictures are so beautiful!

  4. Uncle Mike says:

    Way Way Cute!

    Congratulations on your 8th anniversary!

  5. LoveFeast says:

    What a lovely food memory!! What a beautiful beginning of a love story, a feast at the table! Cheers to you & your salmon & your man! -Chris Ann

  6. Aw, I love this post, Kate. Really, “I do.” 🙂

  7. Minna says:

    Aw, that’s a sweet story, Kate. I’m glad that your man gave your salmon a chance and the rest was history. Plus, that salmon looks amazing!

  8. Jamie says:

    This is lovely, lovely, lovely and you just about made me cry over a food blog for the very first time!

    In my opinion, he fell for you, the food was just the cherry on the cake 🙂

  9. Cousin Sheila says:

    Ahh, 2002 was a good year to get married! Yes, you had a lovely wedding and Griffin looks sooo young in the pictures! Mike and I are smart; find a spouse who cooks! I love a full tummy!!

  10. Suzie says:

    I love this story. I could also not conceive of spending meals for the rest of my life with someone who can just dismiss a whole range of food for random reasons. Glad you found someone prepared to travel with you on your food journey!

  11. Claire says:

    I’m sure he fell for you…but the addition of salmon to his diet may have helped! I just love salmon. SO flavorful and tender! HA…the opposite of what he originally thought! I bet the maple flavor is great on it.