I’m certain I’m mentioned this before, but our birthday tradition is this: three families get together, and the birthday person picks the menu but does no cooking or cleanup.
Most people vary what they want from year to year. Once I made Penny crabcakes from scratch (she’ll never live that request down). Once somebody wanted a breakfast party, so we had waffles and omlettes at seven in the evening. Bruce the Man of Pain usually wants collard greens and hush puppies and all kinds of exotic Georgian fare. Last time I believe he also wanted smothered fried chicken.
I always want the same thing. I want Thor’s smoked salmon (not lachs/lox — fresh salmon that has been grilled over a smoky fire) with Penny’s hollaindaise sauce, or as we call it, Eggs ThornPenny.
We have tried many times to get Thor to explain how he gets the salmon to taste the way it does. It’s not a recipe any normal human could follow, because he starts it like this: I go down to a beach I won’t tell you the name of to a special tree and I take one or two small branches and I strip them and then I take them home…
He’s got a grill he’s modified to handle his three or four or ten step process for smoking and grilling the fresh salmon. This salmon, it melts in your mouth with its smoky wonderfulness. So you put a nice hunk of Thor’s smoked salmon on a perfectly poached egg and you cover it with Penny’s perfect hollandaise — I have no idea what she does to the stuff, mine never tastes that good, just the right amount of lemony goodness — and that’s my perfect birthday meal. With a pear and blue cheese salad on the side. And a double dose of Lipitor for dessert.
So there you go: the non-recipe for Eggs ThornPenny, which I felt compelled to record. Because today? Is not so good, and I’m trying to distract myself.