Once upon a time, long before my obsession with puns, I had the privilege of living in Iowa. I worked at an elusive consulting firm that sometimes felt more like The Firm than just a neighborly business within the wholesomeness of Iowa. My tribe of single, young adults, spent much of our down time, going to movies, eating, and exploring the state charms. And although I couldn’t get enough of sizzling rice soup from Yen Ching’s, it was the local fare that always welcomed me home – buttery sweet corn, fried pork tenderloins and Maytag blue cheese. But, nothing could beat Iowa’s small town festivals where half the population participated in Main Street parades while other half watched; flags flying, smiles on every face, livestock as pets, and the elders revered as much as the children. It’s no wonder that Julie Roberts escaped to Iowa after Sleeping with the Enemy. Bam, two movie reference in one paragraph and that’s not counting Cedar Rapids. My friend is traveling back this weekend to her native Iowa and will be smack dab in the middle of one of the state’s best small town festivals, Solon Beef Days which for the longest time I thought was Sole & Beef Days. I’ve been nostalgic for the Midwest this summer, despite a fantastic trip to Indiana for a family reunion (yes, I’ve lived in every state).
Rather than make my own fried pork tenderloins, I was reminded of all that’s good on the West Coast too. Our access to fresh fish is a treasure – perhaps giving us our own Sole & Beef celebration. I especially treasure wild salmon that’s still in season. Then, I came across an item that gave me a way to take salmon (fresh, frozen, or otherwise) to the next level without having to be a gourmand.
Cedar wood in sheets so thin they wrap around the food. I found this package at Whole Foods, but they are less expensive online. I concocted my own recipe with few ingredients, because despite summer’s seeming leisurely pace, we have been frenetic with a different flavor of Americana – Little League.
All American for sure; get a group of clear-skinned 10 yearold boys in baseball uniforms dusted with orangish dirt, chanting “good eye, good eye, we watch that ball go by, yee-ha.” and they could be kids from any era. So while, the setting of baseball is summer at its best, the stakes of All Stars brings some tension as does the condensed season. I was able to grill up these wrapped salmon filets in between practices.
I soaked the papers for fifteen minutes in water.
Then, placed each filet in the center of the soaked paper.
Folded the cedar paper around each filet and secured it with string.
While still in uniform, dirty head to toe, my son ate up this dinner loaded with clean, protein. His team made it to the Championship round where they battled hard, but had to settle for second place.
Good, clean, summer fun even in the middle of a bustling city, we felt the wholesomeness of America’s favorite pastime.
4 4-6 oz salmon filets
salt and pepper
cooking string (optional)
- Place 4 papers in water to soak for 15 minutes
- Lay one salmon filet in the middle of one cedar paper.
- Rub slight amount of olive oil on filet, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add 1/2 – 1 t of maple syrup on top of each filet.
- Fold up cedar paper over salmon and tie with string. If not, using string place salmon seam side down on medium hot grill.
- Cook for 5 minutes, turn over and cook another 3-4 minutes.
- Cut string before serving.
- the only way to make this faster than the original recipe is to prep salmon wraps the day before.