We found this guy
|Vermillion Rock Cod|
|Rock cod, oven-ready with fennel on a bed of fennel and potato|
He was then baked at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Two slashes in his skin were an excellent way of seeing whether he was cooked.
With him, we had a gratin of waxy yellow potato and fennel, both sliced paper thin on the mandolin, layered with nobs of butter and salt & pepper, with a heavy glug of cream. (I also, brilliantly sliced the tip of my finger off). Bake for an hour at 350.
A butter lettuce & baby arugula salad with sweet onion and meyer lemon zest was dressed with a dijon/lemon/redwine/olive oil vinaigrette. Could not be easier.
Pudding? A scoop of proper vanilla bean ice cream, a sprig of redcurrants & a glorious pizelle cookie. Voila! And for a savory, a tiny smear of goat rouille (supplied by Reza) and a small glass of Chateau D'Avocat pudding wine.
The table was filled with yellow crysanthemums (because it is, after all, the year of the horse).
A very easy menu to make you think of spring:
To start: Lucques olives, marcona almonds, a little salami, shrimps & cocktail sauce (I know, so retro)
A signature cocktail (hilarious): Ketel One vodka, pink grapefruit juice, slice of lemon, sprig of thyme, over ice.
Main course: Baked rock cod with fennel. Gratin of potatoes and fennel. Butter lettuce salad with lemon zest.
Pudding: Vanilla bean ice cream with red currants and a pizzelle cookie.
Savory: Goat cheese rouille on a good cracker.
A few pieces of advice:
- Lay your table the day before. It's fun to do, and it will make you feel ready. Be as creative as you want to be. I bring in all kinds of things from outside: pepper tree branches, sprigs of mimosa, green apples, satsumas with leaves, small Chinese figurines, and so on.
- Try to shop the day before. It gives you the illusion of being organized.
- When friends ask what to bring or how they can help, tell them. They love to help. It turns out that my friend Reza can assemble a killer shrimp-on-chipped-ice plate with dill while I'm in the shower (because I'm always late). If someone says, "can I bring dessert?" say yes. Why not?
- Do not seat husbands and wives, or partners together in the American way: it makes for fabulously boring conversation. Mix it up and keep it interesting.
- Remember to put on your lipstick.
- Oooh, and try to have a friend like my friend Michaela who quietly puts things in the dishwasher and organizes a table plan while you are cooking (she also give very good advice on lerv)