Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kitchen Klutz: Sunny Anderson schools Michèle

By Michèle De Meglio

A Food Network star is in my kitchen!

Sunny Anderson, the delightful host of not one but two shows on the TV channel — “Cooking for Real” and “How’d That Get On My Plate?” — visited me (yes, me!) to save me from my klutzy ways.

Armed with a long wooden spoon, a sense of humor and a beaming smile (Food Network stars’ smiles are just as bright in real life), Sunny and I set out to make her recipe for Corny Mango Salmon.

Sunny told me, “When we dredge it with the cornmeal and the flour, you’re going to get a little bit of a crunch. It’s taking care of my palate and that’s what I like. I like squishy and crunchy. Like opposites, they attract.”

The pressure was on. Seriously, I couldn’t massacre Sunny’s dish right in front of her. That’d be rude.

So I prepared. Before Sunny’s arrival, all the ingredients were diced and sliced and secured in their own little containers. It was almost like a real Food Network kitchen!

I had planned ahead and was totally ready!

Then I screwed up.

Sunny needed a sauté pan to reduce mango nectar and chunks of the fresh fruit. Apparently, I provided a frying pan. What? I thought it was a sauté pan.

Since I didn’t have the elusive sauté pan (damn you pan!), I shamefully took out a wok. Sunny was a sport and assured me it would work. She’s so nice!


A couple steps later, we prepared to pour oil into a frying pan (see, it came in handy!). But I had the wrong kind. Strike two.

After that, we discovered that the cornmeal was too coarse.

All my planning was going to waste!

And that giant wooden spoon was lying in wait like my very own culinary menace.

But Sunny eased my anxiety by offering these comforting words: “It doesn’t matter. That’s the thing about cooking, don’t stress out. It’s all going to be a texture thing anyway.”

She’s nice and smart!

Ignoring that dumb spoon and refocusing on the stove, Sunny and I prepared to place the salmon fillets, which were coated in flour and the evil cornmeal, into the frying pan — full of the wrong oil.

Now, if I had been on my own, I probably would have taken the whole fillet, held it six inches above the pan and dropped it right in. Hot oil would have surely splashed all over me and I would have surely screamed in pain.

But since Sunny was here, she taught me a way to get the salmon in the pot without suffering third degree burns.

It’s actually rather simple. Take the fillet and slowly place one corner in the pan, then continue to roll it in (away from your body!). Voilà! Super simple and yet gave me a massive sense of accomplishment.

And even if I do get burned, apparently my pain threshold, which is currently at a negative four, will eventually increase.

Sunny joked, “I have asbestos arms. I get burned but I never jump, I never feel it.”

There’s probably a lot more kitchen mishaps in my future before I’m that tough.

After a few minutes on the stove, the salmon was placed in a serving dish and covered with the gorgeous mango puree.

Verdict: Sunny is really smart! Corny Mango Salmon is sweet, crispy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

An extra tip from Sunny — any leftover mango sauce can be used as a topping on ice cream. Sweet!

“Ice cream is where it’s at for this,” Sunny said with a smile.

Oh, if you’re wondering, Sunny never whacked me with the spoon. Instead, she hugged me!

Have a recipe for the Kitchen Klutz? Want to share a tip? Send ’em to

“Cooking for Real” airs on the Food Network at 4 p.m. on weekdays, noon on Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. “How’d That Get On My Plate?” is a special primetime series. Check your local listings for airtimes.

Recipe: Corny Mango Salmon

(Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson, 2008)


1 cup mango nectar

1 mango, peeled and flesh diced

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

4 (6-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets with skin

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter


In a small saucepan over high heat, bring mango nectar and mango to a boil. As mango begins to break down, press with a fork or potato masher to mash it. Continue cooking until mango cooks down and forms a chunky puree, about 15 minutes. Remove and reserve half of the mixture to serve as a sauce. Set the other half aside for glazing.

On a large plate, mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. Preheat a large skillet over high heat. Season salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brush glaze over the top of the salmon, then dredge in cornmeal mixture. Add oil and butter to the skillet. Over high heat, sear salmon cornmeal side down until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare, flipping halfway through to crisp the skin. Place on serving plates and serve with reserved mango sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Ease of preparation: easy

Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.


strayoct5710 June 29, 2009 at 12:50 PM  

Michele really puts a personality to your giveaway newspaper.Although I don't cook much her face is so expressive in photos that I like to read the article. I look forward to find next weeks issue on the bus. Keep her.

pharmacy September 9, 2011 at 1:39 PM  

I was looking for this information, thanks for put in this easy way, I mean in a easy way to understand it jajaja, well until the next time.

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