Remembering Where We Came From

If there is one food I love without a doubt, it’s fish: grilled, poached, broiled, tartar – you name it, I’ll take it. My venture with vegetarianism was ended given this passion, with baked tilapia if I recall correctly. When it comes to smaller occasions (roomie nights, for one), I almost always vie for fish. One such occasion was this week with my dearest friend Maya. She shares an affinity for seafood, so I went with the “king” of commercial buys: Alaskan Salmon. This recipe had been on my radar for quite some time: Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze and Sugar Snap Peas.
Alaska’s wild salmon fisheries are considered to be among the best-managed stocks in the world due to extensive monitoring and safer catching methods. The result is a fish that provides the best flavor and greatest nutritional gain of all supermarket varieties.* I wanted a simple recipe so as not to mask the excellent quality of this fish. Perusing through my stacks of cooking magazines, the cover of a Bon Appétit issue caught my eye – absolutely gorgeous! I roughly adapted the original to serve 2 (instead of 6). I removed the skins, marinated the fish for a longer period of time, and omitted the pea sprouts originally called for by doubling the amount of sugar snap peas. Make this dish – I promise you won’t regret it. Click HERE to view my version of this recipe.
The migratory lifestyles of salmon make them quite a remarkable species. They are born in freshwater, then spend the majority of their adult lives in oceans, and finally return to their natal streams and rivers for spawning. Given the simplicity of the recipe, I chose to focus on this concept, returning to where one begins, and thus pair this dish with Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 in D major, “Classical Symphony”. Composed in 1917, this work is identified as a neoclassical composition, in other words a work influenced by the aesthetic principles of “classicism”. This particular work loosely emulates the style of Haydn, a composer who Prokofiev studied extensively while attending the St. Petersburg Conservatory; a “return to his (classical) roots,” if you will.** I also just really like this piece, and have been wanting to showcase it here for quite some time. I’ve included a recording of Claudio Abbado (the orchestra is unlisted, unfortunately) conducting the work’s first two movements: Allegro and Larghetto. There is a part 2 which can be found in related videos for the remaining two movements. I also had to include the fourth movement as interpreted by Valery Gerviev and the Vienna Philharmonic – this is what Prokofiev sounds like on steroids, and is a tempo that is nearly impossible to execute without injury…enjoy!

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjzbEfjQ6V8
2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co-gL6pskwQ&feature=related

Sources Cited:
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_salmon_fishery
**http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._1_(Prokofiev)

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