“If you want, we could go fly fishing tomorrow,” BDN Columnist John Holyoke said to me on Thursday afternoon.
Fly fishing has been on my list of things I’ve wanted to try since moving to Maine last year. So I agreed, and soon, BDN reporter Natalie Feulner agreed to join us too.
Of course, I came to it with a romanticized vision of what fly fishing is (think “A River Runs Through It”). Once there, I quickly learned that there’s more to it then artful tosses of the fishing line. There’s skill, precision and care that needs to go into it.
There’s also a certain level of physical skill that it requires too. Climbing across jagged, uneven and sometimes steep rocks to get to ideal vantage points for fishing, finding my footing was a challenge, but one I felt I had to tackle on my own without assistance.
Toward the end of our trip, after a quick trip to my car, I returned to find Natalie and John out on a different set of rocks in the stream. I made my way down to them, but then had to climb across. The water was fast and the rocks slippery and uneven. As I stood on one, trying to decide the best course forward, my internal fight or flight kicked in. I was terrified. Surrounded by rushing water, slippery rocks and not wearing the best footwear for the exercise, I felt paralyzed.
I think John saw that. From the corner of my eye, I could see him lean the fishing pole up against a rock and make his way down to where I was. He positioned himself, and then offered me a hand to get across the toughest part of the rocks. I accepted it. As much as I personally need to find my own footing — both in fly fishing and in life — in that moment, I needed help.
After a little more fishing (and no, I didn’t catch anything at all — fish hate me), we sat down on those rocks and dug into the picnic lunch I’d prepared and lugged — with Natalie’s help — up and down the stream that day.
This Chicken Souvlaki Salad is based on a favorite salad from a restaurant back in Connecticut near where I lived. Marinated chicken sits atop a hearty salad with feta, cucumbers and tomatoes, and is dressed an easy homemade lemon shallot vinaigrette. Although it takes time to prepare (you have to marinate the chicken for hours — I often do it all day or overnight), it comes together quickly and is perfect for picnicking.
Hint: Always pack the dressing separately and dress just before serving.
Sitting there on the rocks, while water rushed past us, I was glad I hadn’t given into a flight response. Though scared, it was a fearsome moment I needed to face — and I couldn’t do it alone.
Sometimes you have to know when to say yes, and when to accept assistance. Sometimes you have to know that although you can probably do it alone, a little help makes it infinitely easier.
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 package romaine hearts, torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 shallot, peeled and minced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¼ extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place the chicken in a resealable bag. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, kosher salt and black pepper until well combined. Pour over the chicken, seal the bag and marinate for at least 3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a grill pan in the oven. Once hot, add the chicken and cook, turning once, for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven carefully.
- Meanwhile, assemble the salad by layering the ingredients in four bowls. Cut the chicken into slices and divide evenly among the bowls.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Drizzle over the salads. Serve immediately.