I wouldn’t consider myself a “die hard” James Bond fan. I haven’t read the twelve novels and have yet to watch all 23 of the feature films but I do love to tag along for an adrenaline-induced battle between good and evil, and this franchise always seems to deliver. With style, wit and dripping of sex appeal, James Bond, code name 007, is the definition of cool and I cannot wait to reunite with him and the M16 team this Friday when the newest installment, Skyfall, reaches theatres across North America.
The predictable science of a great action thriller can be so comforting. So much so that I insisted on watching Casino Royale through the labour of our first born. There is a scene in that film where Bond is being tortured by Le Chifrre; my contractions were about 2 minutes apart, becoming more intense and more regularly and all I can remember thinking is, “If Bond can do it, I can do it.” Two all-natural births later, I can’t help but feel like Danial Craig and I have something special.
So, what does all of this have to do with dinner? Well, booze, of course. In Casino Royale, Ian Fleming‘s first James Bond novel, the dapper spy calls over the bar man during a high stakes game of poker and orders, “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.” Fans responded by making this “shaken not stirred” martini THE Bond beverage. 50 some years later, the Vesper Martini has become a cult classic, available in sophisticated bar settings around the globe, as well as my kitchen on a Tuesday evening.
The Vesper Martini: this is the only cocktail [that I can think of] created by a fictional character able to grow into a globally recognized drink. When making just one at home, I’ll most often add 1 oz of gin (Bond drinks Gordon’s, I like Broker’s, the make is a personal choice), 1 oz chilled vodka and 1/2 oz Lillet to a shaker full of ice. Shake, pour into your martini glass, using a potato peel, slice a large thin piece of lemon. Twist over martini, gently rub edges of the glass and drop it in. Et voilà! For a more professional approach to this cocktail, check out the video below.
Kina Lillet is a French apertif wine, which means it’s a white wine fortified with alcohol and fruit juices. You can find it in most liquour stores for around $14 (Cdn). Best served chilled, it’s a nice light casual sipping wine that tastes of white grapes with a hint of citrus. I’ve been shaking and pouring with anticipation all week, thinking of ways to utilize the flavours of the Bond cocktail. A simple glaze came to mind, a boozy glaze with that citrus kick seems just right to pour over a salmon fillet and have a Bond-inspired family dinner on the table in 30 minutes.
Salmon, Vesper Glazed Salmon
Makes: 2 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes
Note: Since it’s November, fresh wild salmon is officially out of season. Over the next six months it’s frozen wild or fresh farmed options for most fish fillets.
Other note: Ever wonder what that white stuff coming out of your baked salmon is? It’s only fat from the fish. Delicious and very edible, if it’s not your thing gently remove it with a spoon or pastry brush.
- 3 oz gin
- 1 Tbsp local honey
- 1 Tbsp Marmalade
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced (can substitute for ground)
- 1 large salmon filet OR 2 individual salmon cuts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse your fillets under cool water, lightly massage, looking for any leftover bones. Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Whisk together gin, honey, marmalade and ginger in a small saucepan. Stirring every few minutes, reduce your gin mixture over medium heat for about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat once glaze is bubbling, yet still a liquid.
- Place your rinsed salmon fillet(s) on a parchment paper lined baking tray; pour reduction across the spine of the fillet, covering as much of the meat as you can. It’s OK if some falls off, beside and under the fillet.
- Place in the centre of your preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven; with a fork, gently check that your fish is done and cooked throughout. Season with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!
Who’s with me for seeing Skyfall on Friday? I cannot wait to see what Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Away We Go, Revolutionary Road) does to bring his appreciation for cinematography and pacing to the story. The eye candy which is Daniel Craig is always time well spent, and Javier Bardem is the definition of what a villainous actor should be: sly, creepy, and yet painfully erotic. I predict that this is going to get good.
Boozy Nerd Bit: Watch for a scene in Skyfall with M, Bond and Silva drinking from a bottle of one of the hubby’s personal favourite whiskies, The Macallan. Seems Judi Dench’s character, M, is a bit of a whiskey connoisseur. Clearly drinking Talisker Whiskey in the movies The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day, sharing a bottle Jack Daniel’s with Bond himself in her office in a scene of GoldenEye, and I hear that Courvoisier V.S.O.P will also be making an appearance in this newest installment. M is my kind of lady.
Preparing the original James Bond Vesper Martini, how the pros do it:
Skyfall trailer, get your giddy pants on:
Since I’m not classified a “die hard fan”, I pass the baton (or Walther PPK in this case??) to my favourite online sound guy, Harry the Soundguy, to break down his picks for top 5 all-time best James Bond films.
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