My Sisters Cook Fish and Rice…Too

Theron Hopkins, Local Columnist

“Broiled Salmon with Pita Bread and Rice with Pesto and Corn”—Let’s start here with the “pita bread”. Beth uses Anne Burrell’s recipe that accompanies her “Lamb Burger” (Google “Food Network”). The preparation of the bread is a family affair, with Beth and her daughters usually doing the mixing and kneading and rolling, and Beau stepping outside into the backyard to do the cooking on a pizza stone that he fits onto their propane grill.

The “broiled salmon” is usually cooked on the grill, as well, or in the kitchen oven, depending, as usual, on what the temperature is in the big town of Brawley, California. Hot day: Beau will be standing in a thin strip of shade while the fish cooks on the grill. Cool evening: Beth will be leaned against the kitchen counter with the oven on high, peering through the lighted window. Instead of smaller filets, Beth slathers olive oil over a whole side of salmon (approximately 2 pounds), skin side down. Then she sprinkles salt and pepper and lays out a row of lemon slices. If Beau uses the grill, he sets it on high heat and uses oil to keep the skin from sticking. If Beth uses the oven at high heat, she sets a grate on a cookie sheet and applies nonstick spray. With either method, it is about 5 minutes to get the fish to flaky working toward rare in the middle, which is how everyone in the Carson family most enjoys their salmon.

Have you ever spent any time on “Pinterest”? Beth has, and this is where she got her idea for “rice with pesto and corn”. Her kids are big fans of “pesto pasta”, but Beth felt it was time for a little change, and so she cooked 2 cups of white rice in salted water. Beau roasted four ears of corn on the grill with the husks on, and then they hand-shucked the corn and shaved the kernels off the cobs with a sharp knife and a deep sense of concentration. They made their pesto in the food processor with fresh basil, garlic, slivered almonds, pecorino cheese (or parmesan, depending on what was “on hand”), and California olive oil. Then the rice, the corn, and the pesto got mixed together into a green and gold mélange of richness and flavor.

Beth’s “Must-Go” was tomato, feta cheese, and cannellini beans added to the rice, and to be served with leftover salmon.

Next week: “Pork”…

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