Monday, April 19, 2010

Smoked Salmon

After the morning worship service yesterday, I decided to eat at home since the salmon that had been in my refrigerator a few days wouldn't make it any longer. I have a very easy way to cook salmon that always turns out good. Bryant introduced me to the cast iron skillet and I use it every time.

Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of the skillet. Set the fillet of salmon on top. Pour olive oil on top side of fillet and then sprinkle with rosemary and pepper. Add fresh lemon juice. You can also add garlic and salt or any other seasoning you think would work. I keep it simple. Broil in oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how done you like it - I like mine well done. (I only use a small piece of fillet so I'm not sure how much time multiple fillets would need.)

Bryant called me as I started steaming some broccoli on the stove. During our conversation, I could hear the salmon sizzling in the background. I took a peek in the oven, and it looked pretty done. So I took the skillet from the stove and set it directly on our stove top. I bragged to Bryant that the salmon looked perfect as it was still sizzling and crackling. A couple more minutes talking on the phone and I begin to notice the salmon is still making a lot of noise and it almost looks like there is smoke coming from it. Hmmm... I figured I must have used a little too much olive oil on the skillet and it's just cooking up the excess.

Sixty seconds later and the smoke is starting to billow and gain momentum. At this time I mention to Bryant that the salmon is smoking. "Wow, guess I broiled it too long. Weird." I start opening some doors as the house is beginning to fill up with smoke.

Sixty more seconds and the word fire runs through my head as I'm now looking at a smokestack (slight exaggeration) and wondering at what point a flame is going to appear. I frantically ask Bryant if I should take the salmon outside! He says I can just set the hot skillet directly on our wrought iron table. Now the salmon is smoking outside instead of inside and every door downstairs is open.

Thank goodness I was talking to Bryant at the moment of decision to take lunch outdoors. I'm wondering what on earth happened? B says, "Was the burner turned on where you set the skillet?"

Oh yeah..... Oops.

Our stove top is a "smart top" which means when there is no pan, the burner shuts itself off. I'm still trying to get used to it, because certain pans only work on certain burners. So when I was cooking my broccoli I started on the right burner, it didn't take, so I switched to the left. I never shut off the burners since they shut themselves off automatically. Well, right before the shut-off time I set the hot skillet on the right burner and it recognized there was a pan and began heating up again.

I will definitely be shutting off my burners from now on. After all that, the salmon was actually very good. The skin on bottom was completely charred but the rest was just fine.

The rest of the day I kept thinking that one, Sundays are for eating out, and two, I really had no idea if and when a fire was going to break out. I kept watching the smoke rise and expand and I thought, "Please don't let there be fire." I couldn't help but relate my story to all the stories of the burnt offerings I've been reading about in my Chronological Bible.  Except all the people wanted bringing those offerings was to see fire.

The people in the Old Testament had to bring the choice animal to the priest to offer as a burnt sacrifice for their sins. The priests (Levites) would make the preparations on the altar according to how God instructed them to come to Him.

And then the moment came.

They probably were standing in anticipation as they could see the smoke rising to heaven and they were praying in their hearts, "Please let there be fire." For God would only show His acceptance of their offering if He sent fire to blaze up from the altar. The fire was a symbol of God accepting their sacrifice.

Praise God that He would one day send One who would be the ultimate offering, an innocent sacrifice for the guilty. And on this Monday morning, I don't have to find a ram, or a pigeon or a goat to sacrifice for my sins. I can enter the Holy of Holies offering Jesus, my sacrifice that has been accepted by God. Hallelujah!

Sometimes all it takes is a little smoke to clear our perspective and a little spark to shed light on eternity.

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