This last week our traveling child care project moved to Los Angeles. We had assumed that watching teenagers would be easier than toddlers. In some ways we were right. The teenagers clearly have required less direct supervision, and there is not diaper changing. Scheduling is the main problem. Both require transportation to and from school as well as extra-curricular activities. The high school student has a variable schedule: sometimes she needs to be at school at 7:30 and sometimes she doesn’t go until 8:30. There seems to be no fixed schedule. In the evening she has practice for the swimming team. That cuts into the dinner hour. Then she disappears into her room for a prodigious amount of homework.
The middle school student has a different schedule,. He has his own homework, and grandparents are supposed to help in the absence of parents. What? I can barely remember my own name. Even though the two schools are only a few blocks apart, dropping off and picking up require at least five and sometimes seven separate trips a day. It is a mystery to us how our daughter and son-in-law can get all of this accomplished and still both hold down full-time jobs with commutes of at least one hour each way.
Susan and I had planned to use our spare time doing some of the things in LA that we have wanted to do. We didn’t get that accomplished; mostly we just wanted to take a quick nap. The one outing we were able to accomplish was a visit to Terranea Resort with a nice lunch at one of their restaurants.
Southern Californians are almost as crazy about golf as they are the beach. In the community where our family lives, there are five golf courses, the oldest dating back to over ninety years ago. The most recent additions are the Trump National Golf Course Los Angeles, and its arch competitor, Terranea Resort. Both are built on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and offer stunning views, especially at sunset. Both offer luxurious resort facilities, and both have excellent restaurants. Locals seem to prefer Terranea, but that suggestion runs the risk of being a political commentary in this day and time.
We chose to go to the Catalina Kitchen at Terranea. The restaurant is beautifully appointed with a comfortable indoor dining room and an outdoor terrace that looks out on the ocean. The wait staff is very professional but friendly; they know the menu inside and out. The menu is filled with old standards, but the big surprise is that the chef has added new and creative twists to items that have gotten a bit ho-hum. Susan ordered crab Louie, which came piled high with fresh Dungeness crab. I ordered the Caesar salad with salmon. It came with beautiful croutons on the side (They were not out of a package). The dressing had just a hint of anchovy, and on top were beautiful filets of white anchovy. The salmon was perfectly cooked with just a light glaze, and it was a generous portion.
With all of that, the highlight of the meal was fried deviled eggs. They were singularly delicious. They were served in a little pool of bright green basil-infused olive oil, crusted with a lightly browned panko, and topped with a bacon chiffonade and a tiny slice of radish so thin that you could see through it.
I have tried to put my spin on that dish. My version is nowhere as elegant as the model, and it took more effort than the usual deviled egg, but it wound up being fairly tasty. I added smoked salmon to my version, which I thought gave it a nice taste. This recipe makes six deviled eggs, but you can expand the recipe as needed.
Fried Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup sour cream or mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- snipped dill for filling and as garnish
- 2 ounces smoked salmon (You could use lox)
- salt and pepper
- Tabasco sauce (optional)
- all-purpose flour
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- oil for frying
- snipped chives
- Hard boil the eggs according to your usual method. Chill in ice water. Peel. Cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolk and set aside until ready to fry and stuff.
- Press the yolks through a strainer or sieve into a small bowl. Stir in the mustard and dill.
- In a small food processor, pulse the smoked salmon until smooth. Stir into the egg mixture. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add optional Tabasco to taste.
- Prepare the breading by placing the flour, egg white mixed with water, and panko in individual small bowls large enough to accommodate the egg white cases but small enough so that they can be completely immersed.
- Dry the reserved egg white cases. Dip the cases into the flour, dusting off any extra. Dip in the egg-water wash, coating completely but draining any extra liquid from the hollow. Coat with panko.
- Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the coated egg whites one by one into frying oil, about 2 inches of vegetable oil heated to 350°F,, turning until browned on all sides. Transfer the fried egg white cases to several thicknesses of paper towel, using the same spider or slotted spoon to keep the coating intact. Cool.
- With a pastry sleeve fitted with a large star shape, pipe the filling into the egg white casings. Garnish with a few capers, some of the snipped dill and snipped chives. Serve.