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May 1, 2013 / theyellowbungalowla

Poached Arctic Char on Brioche with Tarragon Aioli and Shredded Baby Romaine

I have a stack of ideas I’m excited to share with you on Wednesdays from my “Good Living” category.  I had several lined up in a queue, and have been contemplating which one to choose to share first.

But this one snuck up on me, and pushed its way to the front of the line.  In fact, I had no idea that it existed until today.  Our Wednesdays together will be awesome because I’ll be sharing a small “something” – recipe, gift, idea – that makes life feel special.  In fact, this idea came together just a few minutes ago as my stomach was grumbling in anticipation of lunch. So let me go back to the beginning, as my day was just getting started.

Each Wednesday, I drive to the farmers market in Santa Monica.  I go for a number of reasons, many of which I will discuss and share with you on this blog.  Today I took my friend Lana, and together we wandered through the market to discover what delicious treasures were waiting for us.

I like to arrive early.  It’s quiet before the crowds arrive, making it easier to find a parking spot and wander around without bumping into a mass of people.   I find it exciting to watch the farmers set up their stands and get ready to sell their wares.  Arriving early has many advantages, one of which is being able to scope out new and interesting arrivals. I like to make a “first pass” through the market, making mental notes about what I want to purchase; then I go back through and make my purchases.  Yes, this method takes time and patience and dedication, but I feel it’s well-worth all the effort.  Going to the farmers market is inspiring and uplifting to me, and truly one of the highlights of my week.

The downside of arriving early is that I’m usually starving by the time I’ve parked, and shopping on an empty stomach is no fun.  I often make a bee-line for one of my favorite bakeries, Rockenwagner.  Lana and I walked over and chose a treat to share as we wandered the market: the famous Rockenwagner pretzel roll.  It’s soft, chewy, salty perfection.  I also picked up a pack of brioche rolls that was calling out to me.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with them, but I was certain that I needed them!  We continued on through the market, picking a little of this and a little of that; more details from our treasure hunt to be shared later on.

Fast-forward back to the bungalow: Lana dropped me off, and I unloaded my goodies, cleaned out the fridge, and started the laundry.  Although each Wednesday begins with a dose of inspiration at the farmers market, I also consider it an errand day at the bungalow.  Groceries must be purchased and laundry must be done, both of which are much easier after I’ve had a heavenly morning in Santa Monica!

After all of this running around, my stomach is starving for lunch.  I quickly scan the fridge, and spot a couple of interesting tidbits: tarragon aioli and a piece of arctic char (similar to salmon) that I had poached for a dinner party (promise to share that story later as well!).  A quick scan of the produce drawer yielded a head of baby romaine, perfect for shredding and adding to a sandwich.  Have you guessed where I’m going with all of this?  Fresh brioche bun from the bakery, poached fish, homemade aioli, and shredded romaine all come together to create a very special sandwich.

I cut the brioche in half, then scooped out the inside of the “cap” so that it would hold more of the shredded romaine.  I flaked the fish onto the bottom of the bun and squeezed half a lemon over it to add zip, then a nice pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper.  Next came a generous smear of aioli, fresh and tangy with tarragon and basil.  Topped with crunchy, sweet romaine shreds and that buttery brioche, and you’ve got one heck of a “leftover” lunch.

As I polished off the last bite, it dawned on me that this should be the first “Good Living” post that I share with you.  Not only was I able to take leftovers out of my fridge to make a delicious (and healthy!) sandwich, this special lunch set me on the right track to tackle the rest of my errands for the day.

Indeed, it’s good living.

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