What to do

I temporarily lost my mind last night. I bought a piece of fish from the fish monger up at Fairway and by the time I got it home and unpacked it, I had not one inkling of what to do with it. I tried to think about it. I tried to motivate myself to walk into the other room and pick up a cookbook. Couldn’t do that either. I decided to have the confidence that my mind would come back to me but fish has no time to wait. I was embarrassed for the fish. Poor thing gave it’s life for me, and I had no plan. It laid naked on the counter and looked off into the distance. I football coached. “You can’t tell a fish you’ll pick up the conversation with it on Sunday, maybe Monday when it’s Saturday and there is only the sweet smell of clean salt sea water and breezes coming from that fish. Caught fish evolve. They don’t hold on to that moment of freshness. GET OUT YOUR PAN AND COOK SOMETHING WOMAN!” The coach thing caused a spark. I remembered the balding head of Alfred Portale and his words “keep it simple” and felt him shove me off the bench and back in the mix. I put the pan down on the burner and kicked up the flame. I poured in an olive oil that can only lead to success. I hacked a few garlic cloves in two, and laid down a twig of parsley and lusty green basil leaves to simmer to an opaque. Out they came and in went the fish with a gesture of sea salt and pepper. In honor of my friend Mary, a whole pepperoncino joined it. I waited with the patience of a frog with an eye on dinner for the fish to brown. I flipped it. I added a knob of butter to the pan and a few chives and spooned it over until the salmon was only barely cooked through. That’s all I ate.

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