Friday, March 12, 2010

Entertained And Entertaining.

Have you ever heard someone described as both interested and interesting, meaning they could carry a great conversation with you but also stopped talking long enough to listen to what you had to say as well. I think it is a great compliment to be both interested and interesting. I find most people are one or the other but have a hard time being both. The same can be said for entertaining. My goal in entertaining friends in my home is to be able to sit and be entertained by my guests. This is impossible if I am juggling food and dishes in the kitchen, though it certainly may be entertaining for my guests to watch!

I have found one dish that can be served in a variety of settings — poolside, casual brunch, or formal evening — and always allows be to both be entertained by my guests and be entertaining myself. It can all be made in advance and can be served either cold or at room temperature. It is always well received. It is a salmon nicoise salad, a modern variation of the traditional tuna nicoise. This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s (the Barefoot Contessa). If you have not already purchased one of her cookbooks, go directly to the bookstore or buy one online. My favorite is Barefoot Contessa Parties! Incredible recipes and insight into effortless entertaining.

Salmon Nicoise Platter

IG1006_Roasted-Salmon-Nicoise_lg

Ingredients

  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 pounds skin-on fresh salmon fillets
  • 3 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds haricots verts, stems removed
  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges (6 small tomatoes)
  • 12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in 1/2
  • 1 bunch watercress or arugula
  • 1/2 pound large green olives, pitted
  • 1 can anchovies, optional

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

For the marinade, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, mustard, garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and 1/2 tablespoon pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan that has been covered in aluminum foil, and drizzle the marinade over the salmon. Allow the salmon to sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot off the heat and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Leave the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender but firm. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in thick slices and set aside.

Place the salmon in the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the skin and break into large pieces.

Blanch the haricots verts in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes only. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water. Drain again and set aside.

For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Set aside.

Arrange the salmon, potatoes, haricots verts, tomatoes, eggs, watercress, olives and anchovies, if used, on a large flat platter. Drizzle some vinaigrette over the fish and vegetables and serve the rest in a pitcher on the side. I generally do this all in the morning of my event. I arrange the platter or platters artfully, cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator until a half hour before they are needed. I don’t like the bitter coldness, but find the flavors mellow when allowed to come close to room temp.

For dessert, maybe a fruit tart or simple chocolate brownies, depending on the formality of the event. You cannot go wrong. Add a nice white wine and I guarantee you will indeed have time to be both entertained and entertaining!


1 comment:

Brandy said...

I can vouch for this! YUMMY!!!!

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