Mary’s Broiled Salmon With Marmalade

I have often thought of myself as being basically conservative. For instance, I believe that Christ was right when he said that the second great commandment was, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself….” He said it 2,000 years ago, but it’s still a good idea. As you can see, I like reading it in the King James translation, which is a bit over 400 years old. Old ideas, old words, old spellings.

I like comfortable old shoes, well-patched work pants and books written long enough ago to prove that they are worth remembering. I enjoy trout fishing and books about the sport. One of my favorites is The Treatise of Fishing with an Angle. The book is over 500 years old and was probably written by a woman, Dame Juliana Berners. It is the oldest known book about fishing published in English and still has some good tips for a trout fisherman. More evidence of my conservative bent.

I am also a conservative when it comes to barbers. Phyllis Jackelen cut my hair for over twenty years. We became friends, exchanged Christmas gifts and enjoyed our time together every month. After Phyllis died I had to find a replacement. It has been only ten months, but I think that Sue Johnson will be Phyllis’ permanent replacement. She does a good job with my thinning hair and likes to cook.

When I asked if she had any favorite recipes that she might consider sharing, she told me about one she got from a friend who lives in Woodbury, Minnesota. Mary Stromen gave it to her nearly ten years ago. A ten-year-old recipe is one that a conservative can use without feeling too liberal, and since Mary is the sister of Karen Pape, our neighbor of more than forty years, the recipe has an even more respectable pedigree.

Dame Juliana has some advice for salmon fishing if you want to catch your own fish, but you can buy some nice skinless filets quite reasonably and turn out a delicious and nutritious entrée in just a few minutes by following the recipe that Sue shared with me. Here is what you do.


1/2 cup orange marmalade           
1 T Dijon mustard   
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
1/8 tsp. ground ginger  
4 (6 oz.) skinless salmon filets      


For best results, remove the filets from the refrigerator fifteen or twenty minutes before cooking them. If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to let the filets come to room temperature, just add an extra minute to the cooking times and be sure to check that the fish is done.

Preheat the broiler and arrange the top rack in the oven about six inches below the broiler. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and coat it with cooking spray.

Stir the spices into the marmalade in a small bowl. Make sure that the spices are thoroughly mixed with the marmalade.

Place the filets in the pan and brush half of the marmalade mixture over the fish. Broil for about six minutes, turn the filets and brush them with the remaining marmalade mixture. Broil for another two minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.    

Serve with rice and a green vegetable or salad.


Imitation Crab Crepes Mornay

On a recent Sunday, when neither my wife nor I felt the need for a big Sunday dinner, I suggested that we try imitation crab crepes. When I searched for recipes on the web, I found plenty of crab and seafood crepe recipes, but they all called for real crab, shrimp, scallops or lobster. I like all of those treasures from the sea, but they are expensive, and we had just indulged ourselves at a nice restaurant the night before.

Since we enjoy an excellent Seafood Fettuccine that uses imitation crab or lobster, I thought that crepes with imitation crab would be worth trying. I was right, and imitation crab is about one-tenth the cost of the real stuff. Just give it a try.

One particularly nice thing about crepes is that you can make them in advance. Crepes keep well for a few days in the refrigerator or frozen for a couple of months. Microwave them for a few seconds before filling and rolling them. Cover them with sauce and bake them until the sauce is hot and bubbly. When you bring them out with a relaxed smile on your face, your guests will think you are a master chef.

If you don’t have any crepes in your fridge or freezer, you need to make some before starting the crab filling. Here is our recipe. Do this at least an hour before you plan on putting the crepes together.

Once you have ten crepes made, you can prepare the filling and make the Mornay sauce.

Mornay sauce is Béchamel (white sauce) flavored with cheese. This variety of Mornay sauce uses Swiss and Parmesan cheese, which goes well with seafood. Americans eat a lot of Mornay sauce without realizing it. They just call the dish “Mac and Cheese.” The Cheddar cheese used for macaroni and cheese gives a different flavor than the Swiss and Parmesan, but the creamy goodness is the same.

Here are the ingredients for filling eight to ten crepes.

8 oz. imitation crab
1 tsp. minced parsley
1- 2 scallions (a generous tablespoon chopped)
1 tsp. lemon juice

Here are the ingredients for the sauce.

2 cups milk
2 T butter
3 T all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 to 3 drops hot sauce (optional)


Chop the imitation crab into a quarter-inch dice and put it into a medium mixing bowl. Wash and mince the parsley and add it to the meat. Clean and chop one or two scallions into eighth-inch rounds. Put the onion into the bowl with the meat. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice and mix everything together.

Preheat the oven to 375º while you make the sauce.

Heat the milk until it is hot but not boiling. While the milk is warming, melt the butter in a one and one-half-quart sauce pan, blend in the flour, salt and pepper and cook the roux (the mixture of flour and butter) for about three minutes over low heat. Stir often with a wooden spoon. You are making a white sauce, so be careful not to brown the flour.

Use the spoon or a whisk to blend the hot milk with the roux. Raise the heat slightly and stir until you have a smooth, creamy sauce. The sauce should just come to a simmer and not boil. Cook for about three minutes after the sauce has started to thicken.

Gradually stir in the grated cheeses and taste the sauce. If your tastebuds tell you to do it, add a drop or two of hot sauce.

Stir half of the sauce into the meat. Grease a seven by eleven-inch glass baking dish.

Working on a plate, spread a scant two tablespoons of the meat mixture in a row on a crepe, roll it up and place it seam side down in the baking pan. Continue until all the crepes are in the pan. Spoon the rest of the sauce over the crepes.Seafood Crepes Mornay

Bake uncovered for about twenty minutes until the sauce is bubbling and begins to turn slightly brown in a few spots.

Serve with a green salad and glass of white wine as a light dinner or lunch for three to four people.