Mine is an intense feeling of deep affection for the sweet & tangy combination of honey and mustard. But I was tired of basting the usual glazed ham with it so I decided to try it with fish.
Mirko, my fishmonger as well as recipient of large part of my earnings, had a wonderful stall yesterday. Silvery, shiny and glossy – the splendid sea creatures glinting in the light, seemed to still be leaping off the thin layer of ice and seaweed lining his crates. As my eyes feasted on the brilliance of the fish, my nostrils tickled meeting the succulent smell of deep sea – clean, intense and fresh.
Mirko proudly called me over and fanned out his peacock tail, boasting his catch. "Guarda, Signo' che abbondanza!" And abundance it surely was: mounds of locally harvested scampi, mantis shirmp, mussels and tiny venus clams; wiggling silver anchovies and red mullets; cases overflowing with turbots, ambejacks, john dorys… It was a plentiful banquet for the senses. I even got a complimentary oyster, dramatically cracked open and dribbled with lemon juice in front of other fellow shoppers and amused bystanders. Mirko does that with me a lot. More to lure unfamiliar clients into purchasing his goods, than actual spontaneous generosity. I however am always game, never turning down the offer to demonstrate the sampling act. It’s all part of the deal.
I went home with some moscardini, which I will stew with tomato and garlic tonight, and 4 salmon fillets for the honey mustard marinade recipe. I was tempted to buy the balsa wood 12-piece oyster crate, but I couldn’t afford all that bounty in one go.
The broiled salmon lunch turned out quite well yesterday, and my Italian guests – who usually look upon sweet/savory blends with suspicion – were actually very pleased.
4 salmon fillets, 1/2 inch thick
50 ml (1/4 cup) balsamic vinegar
50 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive olive oil
50 ml (1/4 cup) organic honey
50 ml (1/4 cup) Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
Set oven dial to broil.
In a tightly covered container, shake all the marinade ingredients well.
Steep the fillets in a large bowl with about half the marinade for at least 15 minutes, but no longer than 1 hour.
Fifteen minutes before beckoning your guests to the table with a resonant "A tavola!," place the salmon - skin side down - on the broiler pan rack. Broil 4 inches from heat for 10 to 15 minutes, basting occasionally with the marinade, until the salmon flesh flakes easily with a fork.
I served it with assorted roasted potatoes, yams and yucca (but you can use whatever tuber grows in your area) lightly seasoning them with salt and nothing else.
Pop the chilled bottle of sparkling Champagne and simper.