March 31, 2010

Good News


Salmon with Sautéed Spring Vegetables, Roasted Root Vegetable Puree and Herb-Meyer Lemon Butter Sauce
Big things are happening around here; really big. There's going to be a wedding. Ours. As in My Baby's and mine.

We've had two blissful years together, the first year and a half being an intense and joyous longish-distance courtship, followed by eight months of sharing day-to-day life. We've had many late night and early morning talks about what it means to each of us to be married. We've stared down and wrestled fears and anxieties, remnants of our pasts. We bring out the best in one another. We make each other laugh. We adore one another. And we are ready.

With 10 young adult children (7 of our own along with 3 spouses or soon-to-be spouses who are also "our kids") and one grandbaby between us, we decided to share our good news first with this innermost circle at a celebratory dinner.

Our meal started with a mushroom-walnut pate, brie with warm rustic fruit and nuts, and fresh bread.

Homemade Semolina Bread
Our festive main course was salmon and sauteed spring vegetables over a bed of roasted root vegetable puree with a fresh herb-Meyer lemon butter sauce. As My Baby and I conceptualized the dish, he suggested naming it "When Winter Meets Spring," as the soft orange-colored roasted root vegetable puree uses winter produce and the vegetable saute and herb-lemon sauce are redolent of the first pop of spring. His idea was definitely more poetic than my cheeky name of "Hey Kids Guess What Salmon."

And we finished up with a layered vanilla bean and roasted strawberry panna cotta with balsamic-strawberry sauce.

Vanilla Bean and Roasted Strawberry Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberry Sauce

After Dinner Walk in the Fields

Our upcoming special day is just one of many exciting things happening in our family this year, such as: A beloved son's wedding, babies to be born, a 70th birthday, a black-belt test, a college graduation, and projects aplenty. All are important. All are good. All make up this wonderful life that My Baby and I have decided to forever share together.

This flavorful salmon dish is a concept rather than a recipe, but here's the idea so that you can recreate it with confidence.

Salmon with Sauteed Spring Vegetables, Roasted Root Vegetable Puree and Herb-Meyer Lemon Butter Sauce

Salmon
About 4 oz. King salmon per serving

Prepare salmon your favorite way. My Baby often places it on foil with no oil or butter between the foil and the skin. He lightly rubs a dot of olive oil on the upside flesh, and lightly seasons it with salt, pepper, and a few minced fresh herbs. He then places it in a very hot (400 degree) oven with the bottom of the pan close to the heat source for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 5 minutes. The salmon will continue to cook, so take care not overcook it in the oven.

Roasted Root Vegetable Puree
About 2 lbs. various root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, cauliflower and fennel, (OK, I know the latter two are not root vegetables, but they are delicious in this dish!) cut into 1" chunks
6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
vegetable stock

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Place veggies and garlic on foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in hot oven about 30-40 minutes until meltingly tender and just barely beginning to take on a toasty color, stirring about halfway through. Remove from oven. Cool slightly. Place veggies and any accumulated juices in food processor with butter and about 3 tablespoons vegetable stock. Whirl until smooth, adding additional stock tablespoonful by tablespoonful until puree is completely smooth but not yet gluey and just barely hold their shape when spooned into bowl. Season to taste.

Sauteed Spring Vegetables
One bunch Swiss chard (spinach is good here, too)
One bunch broccoli rabe
One bunch thin asparagus
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Wash chard. Remove thick vein with knife, and chop vein and leaves into 1/2" pieces. Trim ends from broccoli rabe and asparagus. Over medium heat, heat olive oil in deep shallow skillet or saute pan. Cook chard stems for 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Add chard leaves and stir briefly. Add broccoli rabe and asparagus, stirring frequently, until and are al dente.

Herb-Meyer Lemon Butter Sauce
1/2 cup mixed spring herbs from the garden (flat-leaf parsley, chives, thyme, sage--whatever you like and can come up with), finely minced
zest of one Meyer Lemon**
8 tablespoonsful butter, divided
2 big handfuls spinach
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

In small saucepan over medium low heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter. Add herbs and Meyer lemon zest. Stir a few moments to coax out the aromatic flavor. Place the spinach and water in your blender and whirl until as smooth as possible. Right before serving, and not a moment before, strain the spinach "juice" into the warm herb mixture, tossing the solids. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining two tablespoons cold butter. This will turn your bright green emulsion slightly thick and creamy.
**Whatever you do, do not add lemon juice to this sauce at any point or you will end up with a decidedly non-springy green sauce, but a rather drab gray-green sauce which tastes great but isn't too visually appetizing. Take it from me.

To plate dish:
In deep, wide rimmed serving bowls place a generous dollop of roasted root vegetable puree. Arrange some of the sauteed green vegetables along one edge atop the puree. Place a salmon square in the center, and drizzle with the herb-lemon butter sauce, pooling a little around the edge of the dish. Sprinkle with a few minced herbs and/or lemon zest for garnish.

10 comments:

  1. congratulations! what exciting news, and what a wonderful way to share it with your family. thanks for sharing!

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  2. a beautiful feast!

    not to mention that the whole meal accommodated everyone in the party's dietary restrictions, of which there are many!

    babies to be born? did i miss one of the announcements?

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  3. Oh, wow! What a fabulous meal to celebrate the good news. Congrats!

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  4. We met on Food Buzz. Glad to have read your interesting blog. Congrats on your wonderful news. Hope to talk plenty food with you. Cheers!

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  5. The panna cotta looks lovely. How refreshing!

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  6. that was a good meal, the panna cotta was a treat and the fish tasted excellent. it was nice to meet scott's children and hear your exciting news. love you mom!

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  7. Congratulations!!! I am extremely happy for you! Not too mention a beautiful feast you prepared.

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  8. Thank you all, especially those of you who were actually in attendance at this dinner, for all your well-wishes and love!

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  9. Congratulations!!!! And I love your panna cotta!

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  10. Just catching up on post-spring break blogs and wanted to add my congrats!

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