Last Friday turned out to be a day full of unexpected business developments and offers which had to be tended to. I had to put proposals together, polish up my bio, choose a new press picture to use and somehow in between find time to create a recipe to enter a $500 cooking.com giveaway sponsored by The Skinny on Nuts!
It was 11p.m. and I had to turn it in, picture and all before midnight. I don’t work on Friday nights, never have, so having to come up with a recipe for submission at the 11th hour caused nothing but anxiety and an insatiable desire to make a few drinks–but no time for that. The saving grace and singular motivating factor was that I was starving. That always makes cooking enjoyable and not a chore, especially at midnight.
Plus, I really do think that what I was creating in my mind was worthy of a chance of winning 500 buckaroos! There are shoes and a certain bag in an online shopping cart waiting to be purchased. I have to win! The challenge was to create a protein-packed recipe using peanuts and peanut butter. I had no idea what I could make that late but knew that it’d have to be simple enough to whip up and photograph in less than an hour.
Of the recipe categories, I went in for the kill: super high, antioxidant and super food. The recipe had to have 2 ounces of peanuts, at least 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and at least one of the following: eggs, salmon, yogurt, berries, sweet potatoes, kiwi, quinoa, beans or broccoli. I had eggs and salmon in abundance so, bam, there it was.
The creative element came in the way of figuring out how to make a cohesive and delicious dish I’d actually eat that late. I mean really!P Peanut butter, salmon and eggs at midnight? I’m thinking toast, scrambled eggs with cooked salmon is easy enough. I never get tired of breakfast food, but this one had to be a bit more refined.
This is when spending endless hours in the kitchen, learning, experimenting, teaching others, working with other chefs and playing around (not to mention basic food knowledge) plays an integral part in demonstrating my real skills. I had no time to think about what to make so I really just had to wing it, trust my instinct and pray it was edible!
I made a cilantro, mint and peanut sauce that would lay the foundation for the dish. A sunny-side up egg and crudo salmon (’cause I didn’t even have time to cook it if I wanted to!) topped it.
* note: I over-sauced the plate if you noticed…. next time, I’d be way more conservative on the amount I plate… but it was still damn good!
Okay, lovelies, with very little modification to the sauce, it kicked arse! All of the components were there. It was sweet with the peanut butter, aromatic with the cilantro and mint, salty vis a vis the fresh peanuts and silky with the addition of some creme. The egg and crudo salmon were an obvious wonderful addition.
And, so was man friend “A” who came over at 12:30 to eat it. I ask that you excuse the quality of the picture, including the haphazard slicing of the salmon. If you can imagine, it was 11:45 and I was scrambling to take a few good shots, let alone get really beautiful sashimi cuts!
Had I worked out earlier in the day, this would have been the perfect meal to supplement all of my sweating; regardless of the laziness I’ve been suffering, I’d say this is a great meal to have at any hour of the day. It’s really a wonderful source of protein, protein, protein! Not to mention it took no more than 20 minutes and fully satisfied me.
Now, if only I win, then my argument that I work best under pressure will be confirmed!
Would you make this?
- 12 oz. salmon crudo, sashimi cut, parted
- 1 1/4 cup cilantro
- 3/4 cup mint (+ a few extra springs for garnish)
- 2 oz. unsalted peanuts
- 5-6 heaping tbsp. smooth peanut butter
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- juice from 1 fresh squeezed lemon
- 8 tsp.milk or light whipping creme
- 4 large eggs
- canola oil for cooking eggs
In food processor, combine milk or whipping creme, cilantro, mint, peanuts, peanut butter, lemon juice and pinch of salt. Pulse on low until mixture has liquefied and has consistency of light creme. Chill sauce for 10 minutes. Season salmon with salt. In 8" non-stick skillet, heat canola oil and fry eggs individually until edges are golden brown, leaving egg yolk semi-runny. Sprinkle pinch of salt on eggs while cooking. Transfer eggs to paper towel covered plate to soak up excess oil.
To plate, scoop 4 tbsp. of peanut butter mint sauce on white plate. Place one egg on top. Grind black pepper to taste on each egg. Delicately place 1/4 amount of salmon pieces around each egg. Garnish by placing a 2-3 leaf mint sprig on each egg.