Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summertime 30 Minute Dinner Party

Los Altos Hills, CA

Summertime 30 Minute Dinner Party

“Can I invite my four associates who are in town this week to join us for dinner at home?  Or we can always take them downtown – whatever you would prefer…”  It’s a beautiful, August in California weather kind of evening and the back yard is at its best, so of course I say “sure!”.  But my husband had not given me much notice if any - I only have an hour or so.  So I head to the grocery thinking that I’ll do my tried and true:
Salmon in Parchment
A tad of pesto spread over the top of the salmon (from my homemade stash in the freezer), topped with some chopped tomatoes, 3 or 4 thin lemon slices, then wrapped up and baked for 20 minutes, or until just barely, but really almost not quite done inside.  I serve it on a nice platter but keep it in the parchment so the juices are saved.  A simple brown rice and a nice salad on the side and that’s all we need for dinner. 
But an appetizer for 5 men while I’m fixing dinner ….  Perhaps meat?  I remember our favorite fresh oyster restaurant in Paris (“Mon Dieu! You want what with your oysters Madame???”  I mean I hadn’t asked for cocktail sauce and crackers or anything like that – I had just asked for a bit of that shallot/vinegar mignonette sauce that I really love with oysters…”That is like pouring water in your wine!!!”) Ok so they are a bit arrogant about their food but they do have reason to be.   Well this restaurant (a tiny, casual neighborhood place) serves a great starter -
--a large platter of thinly sliced bresaola ham along with a pretty crock of cornichons, French bread and good salted butter.  Perfectly delicious and so simple.
Our local grocery does not have an Italian bresaola but they suggest a “Bresaola Bauden”, similar to the Italian bresaola but produced here in California. Sounds great to me – I think locally produced is the way to go and the real Italian bresaola I would prefer to appreciate in Europe.   
Dessert – berries and whipped cream with a bit of dark chocolate shaved on top.
(If you love oysters and Paris – Mercerie Mullot, 19 rue Brea, Paris, France  01 43 26 08 06.   In the 6th arrondissment near the Luxembourg Gardens. )

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