Someone once used the word "inspired" to describe me. I think it's my favorite word ever. Inspired. It's more flattering than pretty, or fun or brilliant. It means something special. It's something you can't muster up on your own. Something that is a gift, and if it's true, nothing that I have achieved myself. That's why I love it so.
Usually when I invite people over for dinner it is because I have been inspired to make a meal and want to share it with others. I've done it the other way too, where you do the inviting first and then rack your brain trying to figure out what to serve. However, if the meal inspiration doesn't come in time, I'm never happy with the results. That's why I prefer the first method. Every couple has the "we really should have (insert who ever here) over for dinner soon" conversations. Sometimes, there is follow through and other times you have the same conversation over and over for years before you actually do it. I generally strive for follow through, but I wait for inspiration first. If I have no specific vision for the night or what food will be served, the invites do not go out. I willingly wait. I think I owe people that. When I have someone over, my purpose is to honor them. Make them feel taken care of and well fed. I will fail every time if not prepared and that's why I choose to wait.
I love methodically preparing a meal for company, with my kitchen timeline well laid out ahead of time. Lighting candles and putting on good music, like Diana Krall or Michael Buble a little louder than seems right. Getting ready an hour before hand and starting a glass of wine before the guests arrive so that I am absolutely ready when they come. I don't want anyone to ever feel like I am not ready for them when I'm hosting.
Last night we hosted. The inspiration came in the form of mustard-herb glazed salmon because we had wonderful fresh caught wild Alaskan variety. It's sharp and lovely giving the right amount of bite to salmons natural richness. Its basically a thick and concentrated vinaigrette made from a combination of Dijon mustard's, garlic, white wine, olive oil and fresh herbs. It's also a perfect choice for people who don't exactly love salmon as it stands up to any fishy flavor it might have naturally.
We sat out on the cool of our deck, overlooking our town, kids playing all over the yard, wild and proceeded to have a refreshing, wonderful Summer evening over great conversation, salmon, roasted potatoes, asparagus, wine and strawberry shortcake.
Mustard-Herb Glazed Salmon
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian
2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
nonstick olive oil cooking spray
6 (6-8 ounce) salmon filet's
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a mini food processor, combine garlic, rosemary, thyme, wine, oil, Dijon mustard, and 1 tablespoon f whole grain mustard. Grind the mustard sauce until combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of whole-grain mustard to the sauce and stir to combine. Set aside mustard sauce.
Pre-heat broiler. Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick spray. Arrange the salmon filet's on the baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Broil for 2 minutes. Spoon mustard sauce over filet's and continue broiling until the filet's are just cooked through and golden brown, about 5-7 minutes longer. The fish will be done when it flakes easily when pierced with a fork
Transfer the filet's to plates and serve with lemon wedges.
I didn't notice my picture was blurry until I uploaded it on here. Sorry about that. It was beautiful in person, I promise. You can make this without the whole grain mustard, using Dijon for the whole thing but I wouldn't advise it. They both have distinct flavors and work together wonderfully here. One thing though, please use fresh herbs. Someone asked me if they could use dry and I suppose you could, but just don't. Dried and fresh herbs don't even compare. You just can't...well, do what you will but fresh are definitely better. The inspiration just tells me so...And Aunt Jenny, thanks.