Saturday, August 3, 2013

Lemon Butter Sauce Disaster (?)

Two Sundays ago, my dear aunt, Tita Lita decided to have lunch with us.  My father's eldest sister used to run a successful catering business and helped set up several food establishments in the city.  In short, she knows good food when she sees and tastes it.

My husband decided to have pink salmon as the main dish.  Since we had it with oyster sauce a few nights back, he suggested lemon butter sauce to go with it this time.

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I bravely volunteered to prepare the dish coz he was busy talking with Tita Lita.

Look, I'm no chef to begin with.

Baking, I can do. Since it requires precise measurements, I can say that following instructions isn't really a problem.  Besides, the baking lessons I had with Tita Lita for 3 summers when I was a kid gave me the basic know-how.

Cooking - now that's a different story.  My husband insists that it's the easiest thing in the world.  Yeah it is...for some!  But other less-gifted individuals like me struggle with it.  I mean, I've bought several cookbooks and have tried following the instructions to the letter, but something would always seem missing. I truly envy those who could prepare dishes without caring about measurements, tasting the dish as they go along and coming up with something really delish!  My husband's like that.  As for me - well, for the dishes I've successfully prepared, I need to refer to the recipe with exact proportions each and every time.  My most convenient excuse for my said "handicap" would be lack of practice as I don't do the cooking at home because I don't have the time,etc, etc...but is it really excusable? :P

Now back to my salmon with lemon butter sauce...

 I just had to rub the salmon with salt and pepper and our helper simply cooked it.  You could never go wrong with salmon, I guess.

The lemon butter sauce?  Well, I figured, how difficult could it be? It's just lemon and butter and some other stuff. Right? Right!

I searched the net for the best lemon butter sauce recipe, came up with a few and chose the one which seemed most basic and had a four-star rating to boot.  Haha!  Boy, was I ready!

I melted the butter, added the lemon juice, put in the rest of the ingredients and confidently mixed away over a low fire.

But, something wasn't quite right.  I couldn't understand why the sauce didn't appear to be what I expected.   A thin film of what I assumed were some of the ingredients, settled on top of the sauce, with the clear light yellow liquid beneath it.  To make it even worse, it tasted bitter!  I added some salt to offset the horrible flavor, tasted it.  Now it was a cross between bitter and salty, if such a flavor does exist or if I was the first ever human being to create it.  It was a disaster!

With the soup, vegetables and salmon ready, the sauce was the only thing left undone.  I had to serve it quickly; it was a little past noon and I didn't wanna keep them waiting.

I did the first thing that crossed my mind; I scooped out the grayish film that coated the surface of the sauce.  Good!  The sauce looked all clear, yellow and pretty, if that could be its only redeeming factor.  I then transferred the sauce to a bowl and took it into the dining room.

Tita Lita and Greg sat there waiting.  My husband asked why I didn't pour the sauce over the fish.  Knowing that salmon rubbed with salt and pepper is tasty enough, I simply said that anyone could take their pick: to have their salmon plain or to slather it with sauce.  I then whispered, "The sauce tastes so bad - it's both bitter and salty".  He answered, "Impossible!"  I dared him to try it.  He did.  I expected the worst...

Greg's verdict: "Medyo matabang" ("It's a bit bland").  I was incredulous, "Are you SURE?".  I tasted the sauce myself.  It WAS kinda bland.  And when poured over the salmon, surprisingly, it tasted quite good.  I guess that film of ingredients on the top gave off the yucky taste.  I mentally patted myself on the back.  "Good thinking!", I proudly thought.  It was one happy accident.

Tita Lita's verdict:  "Masarap siya"  ("It tastes good").  But knowing Tita Lita, she'd always say the best things, be it delicious or "chapter"*.  I just love her!!!

Now on to my next cooking (mis)adventure.  Wish me luck!!!


*chapter - a term Tita Lita uses when a dish turns out bad -- in other words, "palpak". :)

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