My mother always told us that fish was ‘brain food’. We needed to eat it to be smart. While the smell in the kitchen during preparation would scare my sister and I half to death, we would trudge through the meal in anticipation of higher learning and better SAT scores. Actually we did this because we were afraid of our parents. There’s brain food for you. We had fish, usually on a friday ( you do the math on that one) a couple of times a month. Ma, the registered dietician, would ply us with pesce in hopes to better ourselves mentally and physically. Mind you this was the seventies when I was growing up and health conscious behavior had only recently gotten root in California. In Connecticut there was mayonnaise on everything still. It was a dark time. Ma did her darndest to make it appetizing; breaded and fried, we dreaded and tried. Brain food. The heavy scent of cod would be a curtain in the kitchen that would raise in performance an odd textured morsel. The air was physically changed whenever it was made for dinner. She wouldn’t fry that often, when she did we knew what we were in for. The texture was never really bothersome, it was the concept that this thing was swimming recently, possibly near us at the beach! What scared us most was having our cozy, lazy existence changed in such a radical way. Brain food. Terror-fishism. It was with dread that I came to dinner so many nights in my childhood. Now, I can’t get enough of the fin-flopping little darlings. Holy Mackerel! The scales have tipped. I’M hooked. Elevator to the top floor, this brain food’s delicious!
Maybe it was from working in a seafood restaurant, in an area where the local economy was seafood driven that my passion erupted. The variety around was enormous, I vowed to try it all. I no longer fished for compliments as I was complimenting the fish. Lunch was a full contact sport that I was mentored in. My coaches were friends who loved to eat. And we had so many places to choose from. There was always good stuff around, fresh from the boats by hours. Mussel or scallop, shrimp or crab I was there to peel and eat or shuck in luck. Steam it, baste it, fry it, grill it, or send it out raw and cold if I have lemons near by, I’m happy. And going to work was now different from playtime. Where I worked was one of those old school prime rib, lobster, fish house. The menu was classic and everything on it was delicious. The owner was there in the daytime prepping and in the night hosting. It was a Mom and Pop shop that had a built-in client list and vendors in the parking lot. There was usually an idiot in a pick up truck going to the kitchen door with lobster poached (pun intended) from some poor bastard’s pots. It was a simple time. It was the first time I can remember eating fish for breakfast. A little country place in Old Lyme got me hot and bothered for salmon and eggs. It was so simple, how could I have missed this all this time??? The colors were nice,the flavors were right on the money, and the mouth. It was meant to be like peas in a pod or chocolate and peanut butter or alka seltzer and pelicans (joke).
I woke today craving said flavors. Brain food was in order as Mick had comedy to write, and me I just had to blunder around it. My local Trader Joe’s carries these nummy little salmon burgers that are a staple in our “excercise and Clean living” regimen that we are dabbling in lately. It seems all those fried pickels, hushpuppies and soda pops add up to middle-aged spread when taken recklessly.I dropped an order of toast to get ready and in to the cast iron skillet went two salmon burgers and four eggs. I flattened out the salmon burgers a bit to get them to cook quickly and to fill the toast up. The eggs were to be fried to a medium well stage. Gone are the sense memories of a fishy smoke veil. I mayo’d the toast bottoms and dropped two more slices for the burgers. Flipped the burgers and flattened, flipped the eggs and got out the plates. It smelt like a little slice of heaven was coming my way. And I was going to be smarter. Toast jumped up and I mayo’d, remember I said that we were dabbling in exercise and clean living, dabbling. On to the toast bottom went an egg, the salmon and another egg. Crowned with the top breakfast was under way. It was so good I ran to the computer and he to rehearsal. We were smart and full. A good combination when entertaining people.
Give this sandwich a try or call before you come by and I’ll have one ready for you.