Simple & Delicious Entertaining
Let’s face it. Even those of us who are passionate about cooking sometimes just want something easy to prepare that’s delicious. The great news is this is the perfect time of year for meals that fit this bill. Farmer’s markets are starting to pop up again, fresh locally grown produce is plentiful in most grocery stores or natural food stores, and the best news is that Copper River Salmon is here! Last weekend I stumbled upon a beautiful fillet of Copper River Salmon (my absolute favorite fish), and couldn’t resist the temptation to buy the whole half of a fish. I got the fish home and thought to myself - what am I going to do with it, after all our family is only made of 4! So I picked up the phone and invited our neighbors over to share this delectable fish with us. Now, I hadn’t really thought through everything and unlike my usual obsessive compulsive prior planning for entertaining, I had to punt on this one. I really didn’t have a bunch of ingredients on hand, just the basics, and I didn’t have time to run back to the store. What I knew I had in my back pocket was great quality ingredients. If you start off with great quality ingredients you will most likely be successful in preparing a delicious meal.
Here’s what I had on hand:
- A huge fillet of salmon
- Fresh field greens
- Cucumbers, red bell peppers, carrots
- Organic strawberries
- Organic red potatoes
- Balsamic vinegar & extra virgin olive oil
- Vanilla Ice Cream
Here’s the menu I came up with:
|Fresh Field Green Salad with Strawberries, Cucumbers and Peppers
Grilled Copper River Salmon with Lemons
Roasted New Potatoes with Garlic
Strawberries & Vanilla Ice Cream
First I quartered the potatoes, tossed them in olive oil and placed them in a large baking dish with several unpeeled garlic cloves and seasoned with salt. I put them in the oven at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes (turning them occasionally) or until they became nicely browned on all sides. I then seasoned the salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper and rubbed the fish on both sides with olive oil. I got the grill going (and made sure that the grill rack was very clean and lightly rubbed with oil).
Meanwhile I place the field greens, sliced cucumbers, red bell peppers, carrots and sliced strawberries in a large salad bowl and set aside. I quickly whisked together a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil and seasoned to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside. Then I trimmed the ends off the asparagus and brought a skillet of salted water to a boil. The salmon went on the grill, skin side up first for about 5 minutes, then I flipped it, laid thinly sliced lemons over the top and continued to grill it flesh side up for another 5-7 minutes or until it flaked easily with a fork. I removed the salmon from the grill and covered it loosely with foil. Back in the kitchen I added the asparagus to the boiling water, cooked it for about 3 minutes or until it was just tender, then drained the water off and quickly sautéed it in a little butter. Then the finishing touches…tossed the salad, pulled the potatoes out of the oven and served!
The meal turned out beautiful and delicious (and was prepared start to finish in about 40-45 minutes). As you can see, very few ingredients - but good ingredients can turn something simple into meal worthy of entertaining. So keep your eyes out for great looking cuts of meat or fish or fresh organically grown produce and let the food speak for itself.
- Chef Jessica