A word on “prom food”…you know what I’m talking about. The generic meal that they used to serve you at high school dances, a meal which has only grown up only imperceptibly, if at all. Now, in your adulthood, prom food masquerades as a “crowd-pleasing” meal at corporate events and even weddings.
Allow your Bad Mama Genny to narrow this food phenomenon down to its key components for you:
- Chicken cutlet, breaded to preserve moisture through multiple reheatings, in a thick, greasy sauce–this sauce may be vaguely lemon-y; do not be fooled, it is still prom food.
- Tough green beans-they may be referred to as “al dente” on the menu, an Italian term literally meaning, “to the tooth.” The Italians meant it to refer to food that has not been overcooked, which retains some of its bite. Prom food cooks mean it to refer to food that has not been cooked at all, and which retains so much of its bite that you look like a cow when you have to masticate it for 3 minutes before swallowing. The beans may be vaguely lemon-y, do not be fooled, they, too, are still prom food.
- Mashed potatoes, whipped to the consistency of glue, with ample paprika on top to disguise a color which is remarkably like Benjamin Moore’s formula 2129-60, Mt. Rainier Gray.
- Salad greens, probably bastardized by a few hefty handfuls of shredded day-glow orange cheese, accompanied by a thick, monstrously sweet dressing which is supposed to remind you of vinaigrette, though it really just reminds you of, well, since the Benjamin Moore people are being so helpful here, formula 2103-30, Peatmoss.
- And, probably the least offensive item on the list, a white roll, also very “al dente,” served with decorative pats of butter. I say it’s “probably” the least offensive item on the list because there’s still a very good chance that prom roll will be the very thing that chips your tooth, clogs your trachea, or gives you lockjaw. Prom roll is rock hard and almost undoubtedly recycled. I would tell you to check for bite marks, but actually, prom roll is impenetrable by the teeth of mere mortals.
We shan’t crucify the prom/corporate/wedding caterer people here, for they likely do the best they can under the circumstances. Nevertheless, as I sat in the meeting that evening after having consumed this, this, this…FUCKALL STUFF, I thought about the kind of food that had been conspicuously absent from my life, the kind of food I wanted to make for myself upon my return.
So how about some Miso Honey Salmon?
Miso Honey Salmon
Makes 4 servings:
1 lb. salmon fillet
1/3 cup mellow white miso (Miso-Master is the best from what I can tell)
1/4 cup raw honey (regular old honey is fine, too)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
fresh ground pepper
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Lay the salmon on the baking sheet, skin side down. In a small bowl, combine the miso, honey, and garlic until well-combined. Spread the mixture on the top and sides of the salmon in a more or less even distribution. Add a dash of fresh-ground pepper to the top, and put it into the oven. Bake it until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the glaze has developed a nice, dark-caramel-y look, about 25 minutes.