Fish and Vegetables

This past weekend my wife and I had a small dinner party to celebrate our friend Laura’s birthday. Since it was in her honor I decided I would ask Laura what she wanted for dinner. Much to my chagrin the answer I got was “fish and vegetables.” I have nothing against either fish or vegetables but as someone who has been on a meat kick - think Osso Buco or Short Ribs - her request took some of the wind out of my sails.

For inspiration, I turned to a new cookbook that my wife gave me as gift recently, Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen, edited by Ruth Reichl. I found a slow roasted glazed salmon recipe that looked interesting and had the richness and depth of flavor I was looking for. The glaze is predominantly red wine with some mirin, - sweet Japanese cooking wine - soy, ginger juice and a bit of brown sugar all reduced to a syrupy glaze. A squeeze of limejuice added just the right touch of acid to the burgundy colored glaze.

For the vegetable dish, Gourmet Today had a recipe for baby bok choy with ginger stir-fry that I thought would compliment the flavors of the salmon. I rounded the menu out with brown jasmine rice pilaf with sautéed onions and celery and topped with toasted sliced almonds.

At the farmers market, early on the morning of the party, I spied some wonderful looking watercress and Bosc pears so I decided too add a salad of watercress, pears, toasted walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese as a first course.

For an appetizer I made shrimp toast, small pieces of shrimp marinated in ginger, garlic, mirin, soy and cilantro and then spread on a thin slab of bread and baked.

So the next time someone requests fish and vegetables I won’t be so put off. The party was a great success and everyone enjoyed the food.