Something’s Fishy

Home-schooler and I prepared our stations. Our partnership was less skipping-off -to-the-swings, and more a skipping-off-to-the-enormous-salmon.

Our recipe was a marinated salmon. It was a great recipe for us. We worked on the marinating part together, but then were given free range to present individually.  Again, the working together part was not so great. A lot of whiny insipid questions were followed up with passive aggressive finger-pointing. My God. How can one make such a simple task so friggin’ complicated!

This recipe was basically a ceviche. Raw, well-trimmed and thinly-sliced salmon is dressed in a citrus, oil and herb marinade. So Home-Schooler and I, marinated our salmon fillets in onion, lemon, basil and chiles for 15 minutes until it was “cooked”.  The acid reacts in a way that  “cooks”  the fish; accent on the ‘ ” ‘.

I never order ceviche. If I’m not in a sushi bar, raw things do not pass my lips.

(Well, except for that time in college where my date took me to an Ethiopian restaurant. I was  trying to look very cool and gourmand while I scooped up raw minced beef in injera. The whole time I was worrying about the operating hours of the school’s medical clinic. Could  I get antibiotics to kill the E-coli on a Sunday?)

Cure-all

Cure-all

Raw– unless it’s sushi, where their job is ‘raw’–  is not good in my book.

But ceviche is apparently sublime to the other half of the hemisphere, so who am I to judge. Most importantly, it was our assignment and after the stock success, I want to do it right.

Our instructions were to simply serve the salmon on a plate garnished with diced tomato and sliced avocado. Home-schooler did it to the letter; a tidy mound of marinated salmon with a fan of avocado topped with tomatoes at its side. She received a nod of approval and a smile from Chef, and was beaming.

Watching that nauseating exchange, I threw caution to the wind. Something came over me, and I decided to take it up a notch.

I reached deep into my backpack and grabbed my pastry rings.

Trusty pastry rings

Trusty pastry rings

I thinly sliced an entire avocado half and placed my 3″ ring over it. Chef caught a glimpse of my actions through the corner of her eye and headed to my station.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“I’m plating.” I replied.

Her eyebrow went up as I attempted to fan the slices of avocado into a tidy circle around the interior of pastry ring.

I then plopped the salmon, tossed with thinly-sliced onion and dressing, into the center of the still-surrounded avocado ring.

“What makes you think it will hold?” she asked.

“I don’t know.” I said lamely, as I garnished the mound with a teaspoon of tomato concasse.

We both stared in suspense, as I slowly raised the ring upward.

The avocado circle remained intact and beautiful, acting as a cup to display the glistening pink salmon.

We locked eyes for a millisecond before she turned away.

“Class! Please come see! A lovely presentation of one of our recipes!” she chimed.

Everyone was talking. No one heard.  No one looked my way.

I carefully carried my plate to the demo table. It remained intact. I was just as surprised as she was, and feeling pretty good.

Chef did not comment again, but she did not have to. I took a risk. And I know that  it paid off.

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