So let’s review before we move on to my next dinner party, shall we? I like to cook, offered to throw two dinner parties in one week because I am crazy and like throwing myself into crazy projects like this, and…I survived. Details on dinner party #1 can be found here, and if you need proof of my awesomeness in action, check out this and this post. But on to dinner party #2. We started off quite similar to the previous evening’s first course, which was planned, of course, so I had less work to do. Besides, I can NEVER get enough chicken liver pate. Ever.
Our second course actually went straight to the main, which was a dish I had never made before: roasted whole red snapper. Thankfully, my gal Claire loves to cook and helped me along the way. First, I took the fish (which were already scaled, gutted and cleaned for me @ Isaacson & Stein Fish Company in Chicago’s West Loop, thank god!)and put it on an oiled sheet pan. I made several slits almost down the bone on each side of both fishes, then I rubbed them all over with salt.
I was using a method and recipe of roasting fish that I got from a great NPR article that describes a Korean cooking method to achieve a crispy skinned roasted fish. The first step was roasting the fish with salt and oil until it was done in a 375 F degree oven. Then I spread them with a Korean sauce I had made earlier, upped the oven to 425 F degrees, and put the fish back in for 2-3 minutes, until the skin got a little crispy. Before:
Then we placed the pan under the broiler for a minute or so, until the skin nicely charred and crisped up. After:
Now, this might sound complicated, but it honestly wasn’t. All I had to prepare before the dinner party was a side dish (coleslaw w/ ginger dressing) and the sauce for the fish. When my guests had arrived, I threw the fish in the oven, and it was done within 20 minutes. Super easy, super fast, and really delicious. Plus, not red meat, which is probably a plus after all that lamb curry I ate. Our third course for the evening was a cheese plate, which we topped with a Stilton studded with dried apricots and a super oozy goat’s cheese brie. I paired it with my own pickled cherries from earlier in the summer, and it was perfect.
We got the cheese from Trader Joe’s and were really impressed with the quality. That brie was crazy good, especially with my pickled cherries! And of course we had more of that awesome Delaforce Curious and Ancient 20 year tawny port. For dessert, we had a dish I found on Epicurious.com known as an ice cream mosaic. You basically take leftover ice cream, sorbet, whatever, layer it in an oiled bread pan, at least two flavors, and a fruit puree (recipe called for blackberries, but I had strawberries). You let it freeze soild, take it out of the pan, and cut it into slices, where you can see an artful mosaic of flavors.
This dish was perfect for me because I had homemade mango ice cream and a pint of store bought vanilla dying in my freezer, as well as some strawberries, so I was able to bust this out in no time. Plus? I could make it a week in advance, which rocked. I happened to have some leftover blueberry sauce from my previous dinner party, so I put some on the side of the mosaics. The guests loved it because it was rich and light at the same time, the perfect ending to the second dinner party of my week. ~LTG!