The past year has brought many full-circle moments for Julianna Margulies. First, there was the reunion with Jennifer Aniston on season two of The Morning Show. (Margulies will play a successful evening news anchor at the UBA network.) The two actors saw their stars rise overnight when ER and Friends launched in September 1994, and “we worked next door to each other every day on the Warner Bros. lot,” Margulies says. “We kept going, ‘Wow! Who knew?!’ We were all unknowns and just shot out of the gate right away. And now we’re working together and have known each other for more than 25 years. Talk about full circle.”
Then there was the virtual ER reunion in April to benefit the nonprofit organization Waterkeeper Alliance, where she reunited with her longtime friend and scene partner-in-crime, George Clooney. “It was so lovely to see everyone,” she tells Glamour of the cast. “Thanks to streaming, there’s a whole new audience for ER. What I thought was long gone, now I’m getting, ‘Aren’t you Nurse Hathaway?’ I’m like, ‘Wow. Wow. Yeah, I am! Thank you!’”
And now, with the release of Margulies’s memoir, Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life, she’s revisiting her adolescence and the smaller moments that shaped her life. “Dinner was always the one time in my crazy, chaotic childhood that we would sit down and talk about our day, so when I went through this huge breakup and suddenly was by myself, I got obsessed with baking,” she says.
In fact, baking became such a therapeutic escape that she decided to take classes at the Epicurean School of Culinary Arts with her “foodie friends,” which resulted in plenty of dinner parties and recipe swapping. “Cooking came to me more naturally around the time I was 35, so by the time I had my son in my early 40s, I had mastered quite a bit in the kitchen.” Margulies says she doesn’t consider herself a great chef, but don’t tell that to her husband, lawyer Keith Lieberthal. “He thinks I am, and I would like to keep it that way,” she says with a laugh. “But I do love cooking and I love the result of it, which is a table full of happy people eating my food!”
Little did Margulies know that cooking would nearly become a full-time job when the pandemic started last March, and she’d be spending more time in the kitchen than ever before. “Monday was stew night, Tuesday was stir-fry, Wednesday was roasted chicken, etc. And Sunday night became crispy garlic salmon,” she says of the set schedule.
Sunday quickly became the most popular night of the week, thanks to a little suggestion from Margulies and Lieberthal’s 13-year-old son, Kieran. “We eat a lot of salmon in this house because it’s healthy and there’s so many ways you can cook it, but one day my kid said to me, ‘I wish the skin was crispier.’ I thought, Okay, he wants crispy and he loves garlic, so I started playing around. I’m sure there’s a better recipe out there, but this crispy garlic salmon is my own recipe, and now it’s our Sunday-night meal. It’s his favorite thing.”
In a typical week Margulies eats cooked and raw salmon about five times, as well as a diet full of antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries, nonfat Greek yogurt, and green tea. But the real joy comes from how these foods make her feel, and the joy she gets from preparing them. “Cooking is very therapeutic,” she says, “and if you follow recipes, you’ll get it right and learn every time you cook.”
Speaking of which, Margulies is sharing her crispy garlic salmon recipe with Glamour as part of our ongoing series That Thing I Always Cook. Bon appétit!
Julianna Margulies’s Crispy Garlic Salmon With French Green Beans and Mama Rice
Salt and pepper
French green beans
Take the salmon out of the fridge at least a half hour before you cook it. You want all fish, meat, and poultry to be at room temperature before you put heat to it; that way you get the full flavor.
Rinse and pat dry the salmon, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Then rub freshly minced garlic all over the flesh side of the fish.
Put the remaining minced garlic in a heated pan with olive oil. Get the garlic cooked to just browning and then, skin side down, place the salmon on top of the garlic at very high heat. This sears the garlic to the skin and makes the skin crispy. Then turn the heat down a bit after about 2 minutes, since you don’t want it to burn.
When the salmon cooks halfway through, flip it over and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it sit in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes. You never want to overcook salmon, or it will get rubbery. You want it to be medium-rare. It will still cook even though the heat is off because the pan is still hot.
For the rice, I sauté one chopped onion in a little olive oil until translucent and put it in a bowl to the side. In the same pan, I roast slivered almonds—about a handful. Just roast them in the pan on medium heat until they are a nice golden brown. Put them in the same bowl as the onions.
I like to cook rice in chicken broth for more flavor, but water is fine too. Once the rice is cooked, it needs to sit for 10 minutes. Then throw the bowl of onions and almonds into the pot of rice and stir it up. Put the lid back on the rice and let it sit until the rest of your meal is ready.
For the French green beans, just wash and dry them. Add a very little amount of olive oil in a pan, heat it up, and throw on the beans. I like to use a little Maldon salt flakes for seasoning. Only cook the beans until they are vibrant green—about 6 to 7 minutes—because you don’t want soggy beans; you want them crunchy.
Julianna Margulies’s memoir, Sunshine Girl, is out now.
Jessica Radloff is the Glamour West Coast editor. You can follow her on Instagram @jessicaradloff14.
Originally Appeared on Glamour