Salmon Puttaesca

By Wendy Monro

This week, Claud and I visited Vancouver, British Columbia. I really love going to Canada. The people are always so nice. Vancouver is a beautiful city with tons of high-rise apartments and is surrounded by water. Every time I went for a walk in a different direction, I ended up at the water. Our room in our hotel was on the eighteenth floor. Therefore, I had a great view of the city. We were staying downtown. I loved looking around at all of the apartments. The high rises have so much glass. They’re mostly windows. This was perfect for a nosy visitor. I could see a lot of the interiors. They seem to decorate with a European flair. I especially love all of the roof top gardens. It must be nice in the summer to sit up there with a snack and a glass of wine while looking at the water in the distance. A lot of people had vegetable gardens on their roofs too. How fun to be able to garden and live in a high-rise at the same time?

I asked a few people about life in Vancouver. You know, in case I feel like leaving the U.S. for four years or so. Apparently, it is outrageously expensive. These beautiful apartments overlooking the water cost millions of dollars. After knowing this information, I looked at the people in the apartments differently. I kept wondering what they all did to make this kind of money. There were so many of them. Could they all earn enough to live in homes this expensive? It is a mystery. I felt lucky to have my hotel room here for the short time I had.

I decided I wanted to eat as much as I could while I was there. I wanted to try everything. I went to a French bakery and got a piece of red velvet cake. We went to the most popular Italian restaurant and I ate minestrone soup and sea bass, which melted in my mouth. We also went to the most highly recommended sushi restaurant and I ordered the chef’s selection. Most nights I went to bed uncomfortably full. I didn’t mind.

One morning, I walked from my hotel to the Museum of Vancouver to wander around. It’s a small museum but has a lot of interesting exhibits. There was a large exhibit of collections. You wouldn’t believe what some people collect. I saw collections of fishing flies, toys, pin ball machines, drag queen outfits, corsets, boom boxes, taxidermy related items, juke boxes, wooden appendages, neon lights, and more. It was pretty amazing. They also had video footage of interviews with some of the collectors. I loved hearing how they got into collecting a certain item. I have never been able to collect anything. I take that back; I collected unicorns when I was little. Now, however, I can’t collect. I am more of a minimalist. I like to get rid of things all of the time. Big Brother Big Sister loves to call me because I always have things to donate.

I really liked looking at other people’s collections though. All of the collections had the person’s name on a plaque next to the items except for the toys. Apparently, the toys are so valuable (i.e. thousands of Smurf figurines), that the person doesn’t want to be known for fear of being burglarized when the toys return to his/her home.

Walking through the museum worked up my appetite. I asked a member of the museum staff which direction I should walk in to find a restaurant. It was a cold day. In fact, every day was cold while we were there. I never saw the sun. I put on my coat and mittens. With the help of the museum staff’s guidance, I began to walk. I walked past a few restaurants, which weren’t open and then found myself in a residential section of the city. I was getting nervous since I was alone. Claud was working. I carried on.

Soon, I was at the water. Go figure. I found a big beautiful park. After walking uncomfortably close to some Canadian geese (they just call them geese), which weren’t afraid of me at all, I found a restaurant overlooking the harbor. It was beautiful. Good thing I found this place because my ears were so cold I thought they might fall off. I worked my way up the stairs. I was seated by a window with a view of the big ships in the water. I was nice and warm again. I ordered the salmon puttanesca. They served it with potatoes and asparagus. They included a little bit of hollandaise underneath the salmon. Obviously, I asked for an additional side of hollandaise before I finished the meal. It was so good. I love the salty capers in the rich tomato sauce. I have included my recipe for puttanesca. This sauce is good on pasta, chicken or fish. It was an extravagant lunch but I figured I was on vacation and salmon is the Vancouver specialty. It had to be done.

Salmon Puttanesca:

Time: 1 hours

Serves: 4

cup olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

teaspoon basil, dried

teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup dry red wine

2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes, with the juice

1 cup Kalamata olives, halved

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons capers

salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and saut five minutes. Add garlic and saut another two minutes. Sprinkle in the basil and red pepper flakes. Add wine. Add tomatoes, olives, and tomato paste. Mix well. Add capers. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and allow this to simmer for about forty minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, cook salmon and asparagus. Place the puttanesca sauce on top of the cooked salmon.