I hate salmon.
However, my oldest child loves salmon and requested it for dinner so I broke out in a full panic. The only thing I could think of was this salmon croquette thingy that my Mom made when I was a child. Trust me, I can stomach just about anything if it's coated in some yummy bread crumbs so I thought I'd give it a whirl.
But that's when I made a startling discovery. The recipe called for two cans of pink salmon. So naturally I'm thinking I will be opening the lids to find fluffy pink chopped salmon waiting eagerly to be transformed into perfect little salmon cakes.
The first line of the recipe should have tipped me off: "remove skins and large bones from salmon." HUH? I didn't charter a flight to Alaska and snatch this ingredient out of a cold stream... I bought two cans of the stuff at Kroger. Why is it calling for me to field dress the fish? I was bewildered. Then I opened the cans.
:: insert gagging noise here ::
From the top it looked like an organ contained in a jar in my 7th grade science class. But, then I dumped it into my mixing bowl. What awaited me there was part horror show, part organ transplant special on Discovery Health. The slimy carcass that awaited my attention in that bowl was horrifying. A slippery black and silver skin was dripping off an oily rounded blob of fishy smelling meat with little bones sticking out everywhere. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I had to be on camera. This was surely a prank. I opened the bulbous glop of meat to find a crumbly center "spine" that disintegrated into hundred of little bones with the slightest touch. I do not remember my Mom dealing with this while the Carol Burnett Show played in the background. She made it looks so easy. Thinking about the meal tradition I was carrying on for my child, I perservered.
I guess it took me about 10 minutes to remove all the bones and achieve a bowl full of fluffy, pink, ready-for-breading salmon meat but it was worth it in the end. Once the patties were made up and breaded and sitting in the oil in my pan, I felt the presence of my Mom in an unbelievable way. Mashed potatoes and peas rounded out the straight-outta-1977 menu complete with a lime jello mold made my Jacob and me. She was very much there and it cemented my transition to motherhood as I imagined her standing at the stove making the same meal for me.
I still do not like salmon. But it was well worth a little bone-picking and patty-making to bring a smile to my child's face (and to see him clean his plate to boot!) Finding new things to cook every night has certainly been a challenge for this recovering restaurant-four-times-a-week gal but I'm pleased to say that Salmon Croquettes might have to make a return appearance. I may see if I can pay $10/can to start off at the pink and fluffy stage but hey it's baby steps!
"BONE" appetite, y'all.