Dinner for Five

January 27, 2008

Sometimes Jared thinks it’s a good idea to invite people to our tiny little apartment, which is barely large enough to accommodate two of us. Tonight was one of those nights.

Our three guests, Andrew, Jessie, and Becca enjoyed the following menu. Becca, a vegetarian, opted for pan sautéed zucchini instead of the fish.

Arugula Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Red Onion, and Feta
Carrot Ginger Soup
Baked Sole with Edamame, Corn, and Chardonnay Butter Sauce, served over Mashed Potato
Mixed Berries with Grapefruit Mascarpone Cream

Here are the photos, recipe to follow.

Arugula Salad

As with most green salads that I serve with vinaigrette, I dress the greens first, then add the other ingredients. I enjoy this because it evenly distributes the dressing and allows you to use less of dressing, which if I make it, has quite a bit of oil in it.

My lemon vinaigrette is 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 3 T. of white wine vinegar, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and 1 t. of dijon mustard. Whisk or shake (in a mason jar!) to combine.

The rest of the salad is fairly obvious by the photo above:

Arugula, washed and stems removed
Toasted Walnuts
Red Onion, sliced very thin
Feta Cheese, crumbled finely

Carrot Ginger Soup

There are many ways to make this soup, but I really like the subtle ginger spice in the background in this version. Instead of roasting or pre-cooking the vegetables in any way (which you can do with excellent outcomes), I simply add the vegetables to the chicken stock, and boil until tender. The soup is finished in the blender until smooth and delicious.

2.5 cups chicken broth
1/2 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
Carrots, two pounds peeled and chopped into large pieces
1 large Russet Potato, peeled and quartered
1 medium piece fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1/8 t. ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large stock pot or dutch oven.
  • Add onion, carrots, potato, and fresh ginger pieces to the stock.
  • Simmer for 8 – 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  • Reserve the fresh ginger, and transfer the rest of the soup to a blender, and blend until completely smooth.
  • Return to the stock pot, and return reserved ginger. Add ground ginger, salt, and pepper. Garnish with green onion, and serve.

Baked Sole

We’ll start with the basic preparation technique for sole. I use a similar technique for basically any thin fillet of fish, including catfish, tilapia, or even salmon.

Salt and pepper both sides of the fillets. Add a small amount of oil to the top and wrap in parchment. If you wish, you can add lemon slices to the parchment pouch. Place on baking sheet and bake for 12-20 minutes, depending on the size of the fillet. The flesh should flake, but be moist and no longer translucent.

The sauce is really basic, but absolutely delicious. This is NOT your everyday sauce, because eating it every day would give you a cholesterol problem. But on special occasions, it’s a winner.

1 cup white wine
2 T. butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
A handful each of frozen corn and frozen edamame (substituting frozen peas is okay, too)
Fresh tarragon (optional)

  • Bring the wine to a boil and reduce by half
  • Add butter and whisk until the butter is melted
  • Add cream and salt, and whisk until sauce comes back to a boil.
  • Add frozen vegetables and stir until heated through. Your sauce will be almost boiling. Turn off heat.
  • Add tarragon just before serving. This sauce will be thin and should be poured over your fish (also good on just about anything else)

Berries with Mascarpone

I love this dish. As a dessert it’s plenty rich, but is packed full of nutritious berries. I make it extra special by adding grapefruit juice and zest to the Mascarpone cream.

It’s all about technique: macerate the berries with a sprinkling of sugar. Set aside for 15 minutes or up to two hours.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese, 3 T. of milk, the zest from a quarter of a grapefruit, and 3 T. grapefruit juice. Add more if you want a stronger grapefruit flavor.

Top the mascarpone mixture over the berries and serve. Garnish with mint or a spoon. It’s even better when you’re sipping Limoncello (or port, or scotch) at the same time. 🙂

One comment

  1. sole is my favorite kind of fish. can’t wait to try this recipe

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