So we’ve been doing quite a bit of entertaining lately, and I love it! I communicate my affections for friends and family by feeding them, so I’ve been doling out the love lately.
I made this dinner for a last minute invitation. Billy had invited our friend Freddy over for dinner; I suspect that the invitation had been issued earlier, but I found out about it last minute…that’s just how we roll in this house.
Billy and Freddy were team mates when they both played hockey in Calgary and they grew to love each other so. We lived in the same neighborhood and would pop in to see each other, and the guys would drive together to the rink on game nights and to the airport for road trips. Both Billy and Freddy had been on many teams after leaving Calgary, and they’ve both retired from playing and got grown up jobs (kinda). Somehow someway Freddy ended up buying a condo in South Florida, so now we see him when he comes down.
If I don’t have much time to make dinner, I will make the main portion of the meal, and let the grocery store help me out a little. Wild salmon is now in season (the deep coral color is sooo pretty), it cooks super quickly as does healthy and hearty kale! One of my tricks for quick menus is to get a really good loaf of bread and make a tasty spread for it, then I don’t have to make a starch (cuz it’s not dinner without a starch) I made a Tomato Parmesan Butter for the bread spread (not to be confused with bed spread), and used it to top the salmon as well. I also got some stuff from the olive bar and tossed it with some fresh tomatoes and basil.
When I have guests over I want to spend my time with them not in the other room cooking. By the time Freddy arrived ready for dinner, I had everything prepared and just had to cook the salmon and kale, which cooked in less than 10 minutes. We enjoyed a sophisticated menu in less than 30 minutes of effort for me…if all entertaining were only that easy!
Here’s what you do.
Start by making the Tomato Parmesan Butter.
|I rarely use a whole can of tomato paste so I cut the both the top and bottom of the can, discard the top and use the bottom to push the tomato paste up like a push pop; then I wrap the can and freeze the remaining tomato paste for future use.|
In a medium bowl combine some softened butter with the tomato paste, and a clove of garlic.
In this case I like a garlic press, if you don't have one just work the garlic into a paste.
|Also add a little flat leaf parsley for color and freshness...|
|As well as some freshly grated Parmesan cheese; stir it well to combine.|
|Now you've made a fancy Compound Butter that you may go on and slather on to some bread to enjoy while you prepare the rest of the dish!|
|Salt and pepper both sides of the salmon and cook it over medium high heat, skin down, in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet.|
|Now add a tablespoon of olive oil and sliced garlic to a second skillet and place that over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the chopped kale, salt, pepper and crushed red chili flakes.|
|After about a minute, when the kale begins to wilt, add 1 1/2 Tbsp. of water, and cook two or three minutes longer until the kale is wilted but still bright green.|
|Make a bed of sauteed kale on a platter and lay the cooked salmon on that, then squeeze a wedge of lemon over the top.|
|Top each piece of salmon with about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of Tomato Parmesan Butter and garnish with more lemon wedges.|
|I served the dish with a loaf of olive bread and a salad that I threw together with some fresh tomatoes, basil, a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil with some marinated olives and bocconcini that I got from the olive bar at the supermarket.|
TOMATO PARMESAN SALMON with SAUTEED KALE
For the salmon and kale
4-6 oz. portions Salmon fillets, I prefer skin on
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove Garlic, sliced
1 Bunch Kale, chopped
2 pinches Crushed red chili pepper flakes
1 ½ Tbsp. Water
5 wedges Lemon6 Tbsp. Tomato Parmesan Butter (recipe follows)
1. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper.
2. Heat a skillet over medium heat, when the pan is good and hot add a little olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and lay the salmon in the skillet skin side down. Cook until the salmon is a little more than half way done , 3 to 4 minutes; you can tell this just by looking at the sides of the salmon. Turn the salmon and cook to desired doneness, about 2 more minutes for medium, and 3 to 3 ½ minutes for well done.
3. While the salmon is cooking add about 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, and the sliced garlic to a second skillet and place that over medium high heat; when the pan is hot add the chopped kale, the crushed chili pepper flakes, a scant ¼ tsp. each of salt & pepper, and sauté for about 1 minute, once the kale begins to wilt, add about 1 ½ Tbsp. of water. Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes until the kale has wilted, but is still bright green.
4. Remove the kale to a platter, lay the cooked salmon on top of the kale, squeeze 1 wedge of lemon over the salmon, and spoon about 1 ½ tablespoons of Tomato Parmesan Butter on top of each piece of salmon. Garnish with the remaining lemon wedges.
Serve with a salad and some good bread.
For the Tomato Parmesan Butter
Makes about 1 ¼ cups
1 stick Butter, softened
½ cup Grated Parmesan cheese
2 ½ Tbsp. Tomato paste
2 Tbsp. Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste (a small clove of garlic)
1. Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl and stir well until all the ingredients are combined.
Serve Tomato Parmesan Butter over fish, sautéed chicken; toss it into orzo pasta; use it a sandwich spread or just eat it on some good bread.
Store left overs in the refrigerator.
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