Chile Baked Salmon with Lime Butter
In case you’ve never experienced social anxiety, here’s a handy snapshot of it:
While I place my order for a sandwich at my local coffee shop, I make eye contact with the cashier to be polite. The eye contact flusters me, though, so I immediately look down and pretend my wallet is very interesting. The counter next to me is also intriguing. The floor is simply fascinating.
While the cashier scans my card, I worry about whether or not my face looks weird and whether or not I’m doing the right thing with my hands. What’s the right thing to do with your hands? I don’t know, but probably not whatever I’m doing. I shuffle them every few seconds to try to increase the likelihood that they’ll be doing the right thing whenever someone glances. Or, wait, does that decrease the likelihood? I stop shuffling. I start again.
Once my order is placed, I sit down in a booth with a sigh of relief and wait for them to call my name when my sandwich is ready. But something is bothering me. I’m a little deaf and it’s kind of loud in here. What if I can’t hear them call my name? My brain conveniently replays a full technicolor memory of a time I did miss my name being called at a restaurant and was snarked at, which made me want to melt into a storm drain and live out the rest of my life as the inconspicuous layer of sewer scum that I apparently was. So that was pleasant.
To avoid repeating history, I begin to look over towards the kitchen every few seconds. Now there’s no way I’ll miss my name! But what if people think I’m weird or impatient because I’m glancing at the kitchen so often? I stop looking. But what if I miss my name? I start looking. But what if I look weird?
Back and forth I go until enough time has passed that a new worry begins to creep in: WHAT IF THEY FORGOT MY ORDER? This isn’t terrifying because I won’t get my food, but because I’ll have to GO UP AND SAY SOMETHING.
Of course I could just forget the sandwich and try to convince myself that I’m not hungry. An attractive option, but then I’d have to live with the fact that I sacrificed money and sustenance because of my anxiety. That’s embarrassing. I can’t do that! Besides, what if they look over at me in an hour and realize their mistake? They’ll think I’m nuts because I never asked about it! So I have to say something. But what if they think I’m mad about it? What if they think I’m complaining? What if, while trying to sound not-mad and not-complaining, I end up sounding really awkward instead?
I finally screw up every last nerve and walk up to the front, worrying along the way about how to make my tone, facial expression, and body language communicate that I am TOTALLY 100% FINE and NOT MAD AT ALL and SO SORRY TO INTERRUPT and COULD YOU CHECK ON MY SANDWICH PLEASE and AHHHHH SOMEONE HIDE ME. I half-run back to my seat hoping that I look nonchalant, but knowing that I just cut the cashier’s answer short and that he now believes I am an alien.
About ten minutes later my sandwich arrives in front of me. I breathe a sigh of relief/victory/indigestion before digging in and realizing . . . I need to go order something to drink.
So who out there can identify with this experience? And who out there is so thankful they can’t?
I’m used to it. It may sound bad, but I manage it fine — it’s hardly the worst issue I’ve dealt with! But it’s also no wonder that sometimes it’s a relief to stay home and cook for myself. This Chile Baked Salmon with Lime Butter was the main course for my Plugrá Butter Summer Patio Party and I’m in love with it. It’s absolutely delicious with the zingy lime butter on top, but it’s also super quick and easy to prepare. I have a feeling this will be in our weeknight rotation often once school starts again. Enjoy!
One year ago: How to Put Together a Cheese Plate
Two years ago: Red, White, and Blue Desserts
Three years ago: Thyme Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
Four years ago: Straw-Raspberry Basil Fruit Leather
Five years ago: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
Six years ago: Peach Cobbler Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- zest of 1 lime (about 4 heaping teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1-pound filets of salmon
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Make the lime butter: Mix the ingredients together until the zest is evenly distributed throughout the butter. Scoop the butter out onto a sheet of wax paper. Cover with another sheet and lightly roll it out to a uniform thickness of about 1/2 inch. Place it in the fridge to firm up.
- Make the salmon: Whisk together the cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, and salt. Rub the spice mix on the salmon filets (on both sides if it's skinless, but on just the exposed side if it's skin-on.) I then cook each filet separately so as not to crowd the pan. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Place the fish in skin side down and cook without disturbing for 4-5 minutes before turning over and cooking for 4 minutes on the other side (thicker cuts might need 6-7 minutes per side -- mine was about 1 inch thick at its thickest point -- but keep in mind the fish will continue to cook when you tent it with foil). Remove the fish from the heat, tent it with foil, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes as you repeat the process with the other filet. The fish will flake apart easily when done. Remove the firmed up lime butter from the fridge and cut out shapes that are about 1- to 2-inches in diameter (if you want to be cutesy -- otherwise, regular pats are fine). Place a pat on each serving of fish. Serve hot with lime wedges for spritzing over the fish. Reserve excess lime butter in the freezer for other uses.
KellyJuly 2, 2015 at 1:58 am (8 years ago)
This is so me. “Did I say my name clearly?” I probably didn’t. “What should I be listening for?”
Nutmeg NannyJuly 2, 2015 at 8:30 am (8 years ago)
I feel you on living with social anxiety. I once broke down in a busy deli because I was overwhelmed with all the people and I wasn’t sure of the deli protocol for paying and waiting for your sandwich. Do I pay first and wait? Do I wait and then pay? Why are there so many people in here. I can’t hear, I can’t think, why so many people? Don’t they have jobs? Why are they here while I’m here. I shouldn’t have come. I’m so dumb for coming here and not knowing what to do.
Ok that was lengthy but I get it and I wanted you to know you are not alone. Anxiety is debilitating and even with help it’s hard to fix.
On a lighter note I love the look of this salmon. It looks delicious and that lime butter is calling my name…yum!
Julie | Small Green KitchenJuly 2, 2015 at 9:19 am (8 years ago)
I can relate to what you experience as I’ve dealt with social anxiety since I was around the age of 13. I was always sort of shy but I would still talk with people with no issue. But when I reached my teens, that changed. I went through some awkward stuff (that had to do with my appearance) that people noticed because it had to do with my skin and hair, and, well let’s just say, I found out who my real friends were. Teenagers can be pretty mean. Sitting in class, going to school every day right through high school was dreadful. Fast forward to today, I still deal with anxiety. I’m fine if I’m around people I know; I can be the life of the party. But out in public, at parties with tons of people I don’t know, I feel just like you did during your afternoon at the coffee shop.
Now I have to say that your salmon recipe is quite delightful! Salmon is my favorite fish and I usually devour it within minutes of sitting down to eat it. 🙂
allie @ Through Her Looking GlassJuly 2, 2015 at 11:06 am (8 years ago)
I have a very dear cousin who deals with social anxiety. She shares the challenges with me, and I really feel for her and all who deal with this on a daily basis. As if life isn’t enough already. Your salmon is gorgeous and I really must try this very soon! Lime butter sounds so delicious and summer!
Dani @ DaniCaliforniaCooksJuly 2, 2015 at 8:38 pm (8 years ago)
This looks so delicious! I can’t get enough salmon these days!
Debra WorthJuly 2, 2015 at 10:33 pm (8 years ago)
That sounds like my life. I struggle very badly with anxiety. It gets pretty ridiculous at times!
TamTamJuly 3, 2015 at 12:48 am (8 years ago)
Yes! I deal with social anxiety too, and I could have written this post. I hate ordering food and listening for my name. 9 times out of 10, at Starbucks they somehow hear “Tom” or “Pam” when I say “Tam”
TerryJuly 4, 2015 at 6:02 am (8 years ago)
Oiy, I totally get it! Heading to my company’s national convention in a week or so and I have been stressing for a couple of months and no one seems to understand why I feel so anxious. There’s the whole what do I talk about with all the others at conference anxiety, I’m lousy at small talk.
RachelJuly 6, 2015 at 5:27 pm (8 years ago)
OMG I love you!!! I thankfully haven’t had that exact situation, but I do HATE asking anyone for anything that might in the slightest be putting them out, and I hate being in situations where I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and OMG am I doing it wrong? But I’m much better in person than I am on the phone… OH THE PHONE. I just bought a house (yay!!) but it has some things that need professional fixes and also just some general maintenance stuff that I need to call a pro for, and calling people to get quotes when I have no idea what I need or am talking about and just AAAAHHHHH…. I can get myself SO worked up before those phone calls! And I have to make SO many of them! At least I’ll hopefully improve with time/when it’s not the FIRST TIME for everything, haha.
KayAugust 25, 2015 at 1:32 am (8 years ago)
Do you think this will be okay if I delete the brown sugar? I’m not eating sugar these days, but this looks so good!
Julie RubleAugust 29, 2015 at 8:47 pm (8 years ago)
Yes, I think it will still be great!