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He flung open the door to the French villa and there she stood, silhouetted in front of the cathedral-like window, as pinkish-yellowish-blueish-orangeish morning sunshine played off her larger than average but nonetheless beautiful shoulders.  He gazed like a cow at her long, black curls cascading down her larger than average but nonetheless beautiful shoulders and his heart ached with love......and Antonio knew this would be the morning when he asked Isabella the most important question of his life.

He slowly walked towards her, their eyes locking like rusted scissors, and he gently touched her cheek with his pointing finger.  She gasped quietly and turned her face up, her lips quivering like warm pudding with the anticipation of being kissed.   Sure enough, his lips brushed hers, lightly, like the feathers of a bobwhite.... then a lingering kiss.... and then Antonio locked on like a suction cup and they bussed long and hard, like in that movie “Nine and a Half Weeks”.

Breathlessly, Isabella broke away, her face glistening with the sweat of a short-order cook on a busy night, and whispered hoarsely, “Yes, Antonio?  What is it?  Tell me, my darling!”

He grabbed her once more, fiercely this time, and threw her down on the  bearskin rug, her head just missing getting bonked by that of the bear’s.  He ripped open her 100% faux silk blouse, the buttons dropping like loose teeth, and growled into her chest, “Do ya wanna come over for fish tonight?”

Isabella dug her fingernails into his back, breaking only one, and screamed passionately, “Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, Antonio!!!!!  Especially if you serve it over a bed of Lusty Mashed Potatoes!!!!!”

And so that very night, they ate the wine-poached salmon fillet with the brown sugar-cashew topping on a bed of Cajun mashed potatoes and lived happily ever after.

on a bed of

Potatoes:        3 large potatoes, peeled and chunked
            3 tablespoons sweet butter (unsalted), softened
            2 tablespoons light cream or half and half
            1/4 teaspoon each ground black pepper, cayenne
                    pepper, and white pepper
            1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
            1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
            1/2 teaspoon salt

Salmon:        1/2 teaspoon olive oil       
            1 salmon fillet, about 1 1/2 lbs.
            1/2 cup dry white Vermouth
            Juice of 1 lemon
            1 tablespoon butter
            1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
            2 tablespoons brown sugar
            2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges

Make potatoes:  In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water, bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes, or until fork tender.  Remove from heat, drain off water and immediately add butter and cream.  Beat with electric mixer until smooth, leaving a few lumps for good measure.  Add remaining spice ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Set aside.

Make salmon:  Preheat oven to broil.  Brush roasting pan with half of the olive oil, place salmon in pan, and brush top of fish with remaining oil.  Pour wine over, then lemon juice.  Broil in center of oven 12 - 15 minutes, or until inside of salmon is flaky but not dry (do not turn).  Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet.  Add cashews and sauté 1 - 2 minutes or until lightly browned.  Stir in brown sugar, cook 1 more minute and remove from heat.

To serve:  Arrange warmed mashed potatoes on two individual dinner plates.  Cut salmon in half and place each half on top of the potatoes.  Garnish with cashews and border with tomato wedges.



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