I love to create parties and especially dinner parties where I serve a five-course meal. Seriously Simple Parties by Diane Rossen Worthington came at an opportune time because I was planning a dinner party for six and was contemplating what to serve. I am one who will take a chance and try out a new recipe on guests. As of yet, I’ve never had a failure.
For the purpose of the review, we are asked to test three recipes. For the first, I chose “Arugula Salad.” Sounds simple enough, right? Well, it is, but it is different. I purchased the arugula at a local farmers' market and to this I added roasted Thompson seedless grapes, Manchego cheese and toasted pine nuts. (The recipe called for Marcona almonds but suggested pine nuts could be used.) The vinaigrette was made from roasted shallots and garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, sherry vinegar, and Dijon mustard.
The vinaigrette was flavorful and rich while the salad added the bitter and sweet/sour elements to the palate. I’ve never roasted grapes before, so adding roasted grapes to a salad gave it a very interesting texture. I served toasted foccacia strips with the salad. The salad was a hit and a great way to start the meal.
For the main dish, I chose “Whole Slow-roasted Salmon with Sweet Mustard-dill Aioli.” Roasting the salmon was simple – sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with lemon juice, and bake at 275 degrees F for about 1/2 hour. The aioli is what makes the dish! A combination of mayonnaise, garlic, honey mustard, white wine vinegar, fresh dill weed, salt, and pepper made a wonderful topping. The slow roasting left the salmon very moist and tender, yet flaking at the touch of the fork.