What a delight to see such simplicity as in the two salads above! No one can use the "too fancy for my skill level" argument with these! All four recipes seem well within the grasp of a home cook. Can't wait to try 'em all! BTW Trader Joe's here has had frozen hake filets of late.

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Sorry, but I have to say it seems rather pretentious to talk about "merluza" when there is a perfectly good English word for it. Hake. That's what it is. Now, whether one can find hake here as easily as one can in Spain is another matter.

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My wife and I and friends had dinner at Le Bernadin the day it reopened as COVID constraints relaxed.The meal, needless to say, was wonderful but for the two-hour time frame for it—not as relaxed because Eric Ripert had to turn more tables. Logical. Eric said, “I created a mantra at Le Bernardin that says, the fish is the star of the plate, which means: We don't cook with fish, we cook for the fish. And whatever is on that plate has a purpose, has a reason to be.”

This quote really resonated to me. Why? I’m also play jazz guitar;melodic, reflective, as background at wineries and receptions now and then. But I’m no Joe Pass by a long shot.

I still get nervous when playing outright performance. I attended a jazz guitar camp run by Frank Vignola and Martin Taylor in the Catskills and didn’t realize that every night I’d have to perform solo in front of 50-actively listening guitarists, many very good. I got up to sit on the chair next to my guitar gods, my hands clammy and my heart pounding, knowing the same thing would happen to me for the next 4 days. The other students knew about the soling so had practiced their pieces prior to perfection. I winged it and not so good.

A third instructor Scott Perry, jazz blues performer, saw what happened to me. He came over and said I looked rather, well, petrified. I told him what happened. Scott smiled and said; “Don, you don’t play for Martin, Frank, me, the audience or even yourself. You play to honor the music, to the music. To the music. Remember this and I think tomorrow will be better for you.” And it was. The last day I decided to play a medley of tunes from “Chicago,” which I had never played before. I did it just for the fun of it. I played for the music-- another “kind of fish” in the context of Ripert’s wise statement.

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