The drive from our tiny condo in Bryan, Texas to our brand spanking new town home in Idaho was filled with three very long and intense days of travel-from sun up to sun down. The third and final day was the absolute worst. It was the longest. drive. ever. I swear if I go to Hell I will find myself eternally driving IH-80 from one Wyoming border to the other, just back and forth all day long. Such long stretches of highway, barren, unattractive land and sparse civilization. By midday I had my fill of reddish, rocky and scrubby terrain and I was done with Wyoming.
When we hit the eastern Idaho border I was pleasantly surprised by coniferous forests resting upon small peaks and winding streams and rivers running along side the highway. I remember peering down from my heavily packed car and seeing a fly fisherman down in a stream. Even though it was mid-July there was a light dusting of snow on the highest elevations. I couldn't believe my husband moved me to such a place of great beauty.
But the further west we traveled, the conifers became scrub brush, the stream disappeared into brownish terrain and the hills and small peaks flattened into a valley. I waffled.
Finally we arrived at our new home, the range bordering our town was desolate, brown and maybe a little burnt from a wildfire. It was ugly and I was crestfallen.
I imagine this was the impression a colleague of mine thought a few weeks ago during a recent visit to Idaho and upon his return he said, "I have no idea why anyone would want to visit there, much less live there." But I knew the answer and I knew from experience.
|A days hike rewards with a view|
I had traded thunderstorms for gently falling snow; the hustle and bustle for a slower pace; long, hot summers for powdery winters; bluebonnets for lilacs; and barbecue brisket for a superb local wild caught salmon. I was in love-and it may have just been the salmon that did me in.
Luckily our neighbor was a fisherman. He'd be gone for months fishing off of the coast of Alaska and would offer us fish upon his return. During the months of his absence we still had a plentiful selection because Idaho is the only inland western state with ocean run salmon and steel-head running through their rivers.
Now back in Texas I don't get to enjoy salmon as often as I used to (which was several times a week.) I miss it and I just might have to move back to Idaho for the fish alone.
Smoky Maple-Glazed Salmon
adapted from The Rachael Ray Show
1/4 teaspoon all-natural liquid smoke
1/2 cup dark amber maple syrup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 8-ounce salmon filets
- Preheat Broiler.
- In a small saucepan, bring the liquid smoke, maple syrup and vinegar to a boil and reduce over high heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Season the salmon with salt, pepper and Old Bay. Heat the olive oil over high heat in a non-stick, oven proof pan and cook salmon top-side down (skin side up) for 3-4 minutes. Flip the salmon over and pour glaze over top of fish and place under broiler for 3 minutes to caramelize fish.
- Once the fish is caramelized, take out of the oven, tilt pan and spoon the hot glaze over the fish until sufficiently covered.