In a perfect world, a married couple would communicate like an ace jazz band—fluidly, intuitively, and easily. In the kitchen, the husband might solo on the saxophone-stove and the wife might hold the beat chopping vegetables on the counter. In real life, trying to coordinate cooking time in the kitchen between two working spouses can sound less like Ornette Coleman and more like your twelve-year-old nephew falling down a set of stairs with his saxophone in his mouth. Ouch.
But sweet music can be made—it just takes some planning. The other night, I knew I was going to be home late. Santa Maria served the kids salmon and broccoli while I was still at work, and I asked her to cook some extra fish and vegetable, which I whipped into a savory dish of fried rice within minutes of coming in the door. Here’s how:
- Cook a pot of rice ahead of time (it's always a good idea to have one one hand)
- Do the same with a head of broccoli, cut into florets
- And cook some salmon
- Dice a small onion
- Dice an inch or more of peeled fresh ginger
- Dice a couple of cloves of garlic
- Crack one or two eggs and beat slightly
- Juice half a lemon
Brown the onion in a large frying pan with Canola or other vegetable oil.
Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté briefly.
Toss in the rice, salmon, and broccoli, and continue to stir.
Add the egg, stirring.
Add some soy sauce and the lemon, and you’re done when the egg is cooked. Garnish with fresh basil, if you happen to have some on hand.
I recently wrote about why it’s important to undercook fish. Cook it too long, and the oils in it can oxidize and cause a fishy flavor. Undercook it, and it will keep that fresh taste. Keep that in mind if you want to make a dish like this. It takes a light touch, just like making good music.