Professor Dr. Moritz-MariaVon Igelfeld is back again on a series of misadventures in Alexander McCall Smith’s “Unusual Uses for Olive Oil” (Anchor Books, 2011). This time we find the academician thinking about love as he is set up on a blind date by Ophelia Prinzel, a fellow professor’s wife. Frau Benz, the widow of a certain industrialist and owner of the famed Schloss Dukelberg historic residence, briefly becomes the object of his affection. Despite his sartorial ineptitude, Frau Benz finds him charming. But when Igelfeld tells her about his preference for other, less flashy German cars than her fleet of Mercedes-Benzes, she suddenly becomes distant for reasons unknown to him.
Oblivious to his faux pas with Frau Benz, Igelfeld concentrates on the upcoming philology institute he runs during the summer at a retreat in the Alps. While contemplating a new edition of his magnum opus, the definitive Portuguese Irregular Verbs, during a morning walk, he is mistaken for a famous mountain climber and whisked off on a perilous ascent up a dizzying Alpine trail. He becomes an inadvertent hero having survived a 3,000-foot fall and is feted as an inspirational speaker.
But, despite his success, life remains difficult at Regensberg University where no matter how renowned one is, he is always subject to the scrutiny of his colleagues in the Institute of Philological Study.
Novels in the amusing Professor Dr. Von Igelfeld entertainments include “Portuguese Irregular Verbs,” “At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances,” and “The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs.” McCall Smith is also the author of four other series — The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, The Isabel Dalhousie Series, 44 Scotland Street, and Corduroy Mansions.
Here are two unusually delicious uses for sautéing with olive oil. Enjoy.
Spinach Salmon Salad
8 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
4 salmon fillets
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 sack triple washed baby spinach
1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
Mix currant jelly and red wine vinegar to taste until blended. Set aside. Season salmon with salt and pepper. In large skillet pan fry salmon in olive oil until flaky and cooked through, approximately 8 minutes per side for thick fillets, making sure it is done. Place a bed of spinach on each plate. Top with pecans. Lay salmon fillet on top of spinach and add dressing. An easy and delicious meal.