2012/07/19

Fish and Swish (FFwD: Salmon w/ Basil Tapenade)

Over the past several years we have made an annual trek down to Yankee Stadium for a game. This tradition began in the “house that Babe Ruth built” and has since carried over to the “new” stadium.



Now, I understand the bonds and allegiances that tie fans to the team they choose to support. The aura of The Legends of days past, combined with the presence of the heroes of the "here and now" seem to cast a spell on the masses who file into the seats in anticipation of witnessing that “history-making moment" – at the very least, they are hoping for a win for “their team”.

Most of the time we have been fortunate enough to sit at field level – usually right field, behind the ball boy. Sitting there, I find the game to be a little bit more interactive. You get to watch the expressions on the players faces, to hear some of the words exchanged on the field and get a sense of how the players interact with support staff and each other. I am always intrigued how people interact.


Sometimes, a player will send a wave or another vague form of acknowledgement to the fans. But for the most part - even though that player is only 10 feet and a dividing wall away - he might as well be in a bubble. This doesn’t bother me - at the end of the day, the player has a job to do – which involves staying focused on the task at hand, not the surrounding distractions.

Every once in a while, a player will widen their focus and will reach out to make a memory for one or two lucky fans. On this particular occasion, the hero of the day was Mark Swisher. The lucky fan was a young boy sitting the seat directly ahead of me in the first row – perhaps 5 or 6 years old. His father had mentioned that this was their first time coming to a game and that they were big fans (his continued yelling throughout the game bore witness to his testament - but I think that's a post topic for another day).

This boy was garbed in the standard Yankee t-shirt and donned the obligatory cap and sat there anxiously with glove in hand. When the sweltering heat (it was a HOT day) became too much to bear he removed his cap, revealing a mini blue mohawk that had been sprayed blue in honor of the occasion. The tufts of blue and his close proximity to the ball boy made him a prime target for being noticed.


And noticed he was.

Not too much later, while Mark Swisher was tossing the ball back and forth with the ball boy, he looked up and suddenly sported a big grin. He promptly pointed at the boy, motioned to the mohawk and threw the ball that had been practicing with to the boy. Immediately, the overwhelmed youth turned around, buried his face in his father’s chest and started bawling. Flat. Out. Sobbing. I am sure that was not the intended response; but I have a feeling that in that moment, Mr. Swisher created a fan for life.

Later on in the game, a few more fans were also treated to a “moment”. A little freckled boy with big ears that was just too cute for words. An older woman taking the day in with her family. However, none of those moments had as profound an impact as watching that child’s rush of emotion.

You might ask “what does baseball have to do with salmon?” The answer is "not much", but I needed a story and tying bits of randomness together is kind of my thing, right?

So…let’s move on from a Swish-tale to a fish-tale.

When it came time to make this, we were still smack in the middle of the heat wave that I have continually whined about previously mentioned. The stove and I really weren’t feeling the love, so I took things to the grill and cooked the fish in an aluminum packet (if you think I went rogue there, you should see what I did to the lemon barley pilaf…hint, neither lemon or barley were involved).

Since I did not have to add a layer of heat to an already sweltering kitchen, the peeps were spared from listening to me muttering curses at this dish. I merely assembled the packets and sent them out on a tray for The Dude to deal with. Hey – sometimes “fair division of labor” isn’t always fair…

Oh, and in the interests of full disclosure I must note that there was no basil involved.

Just had to put that out there.


Grilled Salmon w/ Tapenade and Zucchini
Inspired by Around My French Table

The portions given in this recipe are for one packet – it can easily be scaled to serve multiple people.

6-8 ounces salmon fillet
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
4-6 ½” slices fresh zucchini (or summer squash)
Salt, pepper to taste
1 Tbs olive tapenade

Preheat grill to medium high heat.


Prepare an 8” square of heavy duty aluminum foil by drizzling ½ Tbs of olive oil in the center of the sheet (use one sheet for each packet). If you are using a lighter foil (i.e. standard Reynolds), you may want to use a double layer.


Arrange the zucchini slices in a single layer in the center of the foil - lightly season with salt and pepper and drizzle slices with remaining oil. Arrange salmon on top of the zucchini, season with salt and pepper if desired, and spread tapenade over top of the fish. Seal packet, making sure to fold over seams.


Place packets directly on grates and grill for 7-10 minutes (until fish is just cooked through – you may want to check it at the 7 minute mark). Let rest for five minutes before opening & reveling in the minimal amount of cleanup required…

22 comments:

  1. Smart move, Cher - John mentioned that this was a perfect candidate for en papillote since it made such a mess in on the stove - and the pan is still soaking!

    As always, I enjoy your stories! xoxo

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  2. LOOK AT THOSE SEATS! Wowza. I've never been to Yankee Stadium. My parents always said it was too expensive, so we never went. Nix that--I never was invited to go. I believe my dad and brother may have gone once or twice. I've seen the Yankees play the Nats down in DC, but never at home. Long story short, I'm jealous. :-)

    Hmmm...Wonder if I should cook the salmon en papillote. I just like saying that. I'm making it tomorrow. Sounds like it was quite a mess to clean up otherwise.

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  3. The salmon looks great, but the story is wonderful. I think tears come easily when you are so excited. They do for me anyway!

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  4. Love the story Cher and I love your interpretation of this dish. I, ahem, also, ahem, did an interpretation..... ;)

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  5. LOL - totally love the segueway. Your salmon looks great, however it was cooked.

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  6. Due to procrastination, the heat wave here broke before I made this, but your grill variation was quite inspired! (And, from a citizen of Red Sox Nation, I do still like you, even if you are a Yankees fan.)

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  7. Oh, I loved this feel good story...nothing like a few happy tears the first thing in the morning. Yeah, I think I've been complaining about the heat in nearly every post...great idea to grill :)

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  8. Cute story! And, I didn't use basil either. Only mint.

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  9. What a great idea! oompf why didn't I think of that ??? maybe I could have saved my pan!!! I am going to redo this one your way!!

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  10. Nice story! It appears there´s nothing to do with the heat wave but grill. Love the addition of zucchini! Have a great weekend!

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  11. Cher, Not only am I a Yankee fan, as is all of my family including my Atlanta grandsons, I am also a huge Swisher fan! Nice story!
    I also grilled mine…no way was I turning my oven on to 450 in this heat! Your salmon with zucchini looks great! Happy friday!!

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  12. Excellent idea Cher! It was HOT here but I didn't have enough sense to use the grill. I cooked bread and pie too:) Love the Swisher story! It takes so little to make such a difference in someone's life. Why don't we put out that little effort more often?

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  13. Cher, wonderful story and delicious looking Salmon with Tapenade and Zucchini! I love the combination of salmon with zucchinis and I am sure that it tasted just wonderful!

    Hope that the heatwave will be over soon...read a lot in the newspapers about the sweltering heat in the US.

    Have a good weekend!

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  14. Awe, what a cute story. Related or not.

    Also, you are not the first heat wave sufferer to have resorted to the grill. Here in Germany we are having a freezing cold summer (I wore jeans, a light sweater, and a scarf to work today) so I had no issues turning the oven on. But I honestly think this could have been done completely on the stove.

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  15. I love your baseball game story. I never went to any game before last year and the atmosphere of sitting in the stadium among all the fans was totally mesmerizing. I like your version of the dish. It fits well with your preferences and limitation (i.e. stifling heat). I think recipes like this is meant as a jumping point of inspiration. And you took on the challenge beautifully.

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  16. Hey Cher, I love your story, as an old Brooklyn Dodger fan, I was working in Brooklyn
    for Con Edison, when Bobby Thomson hit that famous shot heard around the world.
    There is nothing like a New York Team Fan. Back to the fish, yours looks great with
    that zucchini. We really loved this one.

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  17. I think random bits of story go wonderfully with food. Especially salmon. Yours look lovely and I loved hearing your baseball story!

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  18. Nice job! I like how you adapted it to the weather and the ingredients you had on hand. I'm not so much a baseball fan, but I do have some opinions about hockey...though sometimes I wish that Guy Lafleur and company were still on the ice.

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  19. I'm not a fan of salmon but this dish looks amazing!!!

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  20. Don't care if your stories relate to the food we are making or not. Good stories. And, I always look forward to reading them. Being from Iowa, I'm a Loyal (notice the capital L) Cubs fan. My dad and brother played for the Cleveland Indians. We're a baseball family - growing up, I never knew little girls played with dolls. I had an outfielder's mitt to shag baseballs! So any baseball story works for me as did your salmon in tinfoil as did your clever Post title. As for the heat? I'm still in Henderson/Las Vegas. Honey, you don't know heat!

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  21. I'm not looking forward to the heat! We are still enjoying winter here (though at an average of 16-20 degrees celsius most days doesn't compare to your winters!)
    Love the salmon! I got carried away with brownies...

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