Dinner parties sound scary. Impromptu dinner parties sound better. Impromptu dinner parties where I am merely a sideline contributor and its not in my kitchen – WIN. As much as I like to busy myself in my own kitchen, I have to admit sometimes I tend to be a selfish cook. I mean, my own taste is hard enough to please and now I have to worry about other people’s too…yeeeesh. I know, I know – this might be a little disconcerting given the new career path I’ve decided upon. But I’ve gotten so much better, I swear!!!
As a kid/teenager, I was famous in my house for toiling away on a very elaborate meal, perfectly sized for one. Never mind the other hungry people in the house which included two very large and growing boys…..apologies hermanos. I think I just cooked based on what I was in the mood for…thinking nobody else would be that interested. But then I learned that when it comes to food, people are always interested. I lived in my own little world I tell you, completely oblivious to what was going on around me. Some would say that I still live there occasionally (okayyy, maybe more than occasionally).
So along the way I started cooking for others….my family, friends in college, roommates and boyfriend (who by the way finds amusement in testing my patience in the kitchen every day). Not everything comes out great and everyone doesn’t have to like everything you make but who cares. Just chiiiilllll out.
I got super lucky the other day and crashed my friend Liz’s impromptu dinner party. By dinner party I mean there were four of us and we were putting together three different dishes (as in more than one), we had wine in the “nice” glasses and there was candlelight. Because that is clearly more than just dinner. It’s the little things in life people.
Speaking of little things….I almost couldn’t handle this. You’re welcome.
So like I said, I crashed this little shindig, chopped up some veggies, “taste-tested” the ingredients, offered my opinion here and there and voila! We had a delish and wonderful get together. The main event was the “Salmon Florentine” – a filet of salmon topped with ricotta, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. A little red pepper flake and a lot of garlic…15 minutes in the oven and done. It’s buttery, spicy, cheesy and I felt the omega-3s going straight to my hips. Wait….that can’t be right. Please try it! Even better, have someone else make it for you.
adapted from Elie Krieger, serves 4
4 6oz salmon fillets
1/2 c part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 c minced shallots
2 tsp minced garlic
1 10oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes (maybe a pinch more if you’re a spicy fan)
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a skillet with a little olive oil, sauté shallot for a few minutes until soft. Add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.
2. Add sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Sauté an additional 2-3 minutes
3. Take off the heat and cool for 10 minutes before stirring in ricotta
4.Top each salmon fillet with spinach mixture and place on a baking sheet
5. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, until salmon is just cooked through
6. Squeeze a little lemon after it comes out of the oven to brighten everything up…the flavor that is