As the weather gets warmer the urge to entertain grows. Well, at least for me. Although, if you were to ask my husband, he would say my urge to invite guests over is based solely on having free time, weather notwithstanding. He might be right.
Entertaining friends and family is such a treat. Spending time and sharing food with loved ones, well, that's what living is all about. However, the trick is to be able to actual spend time when invited guests come. So entertaining has to be easy. Look no further, for this recipe delivers a party on a platter.
Usually, time of day will dictate the menu, as some dishes are clearly for lunch, while others are clearly dinner or breakfast. Every now and then there are those star recipes that are the ideal crossover dishes. This platter is one of those dishes. It was originally devised for a brunch menu that I created last year but look deeper into its serving possibilities. It's a perfect lunch, or a summer dinner or simply ideal for a large party, indoors or out. It's my take on a Niçoise salad but a bit deconstructed and replacing the traditionally used Tuna with Salmon, as I try to avoid Tuna due to high levels of mercury.
Why I love this dish? Let me count the ways.
- Eighty percent of this can be easily prepped beforehand. Even the day the before.
- It's as simple as cutting up vegetables, roasting the onions and fish and assembling a beautifully abundant platter full of options.
- You can use whatever vegetable combinations you have or whatever are your favorites
- Guests can grab whatever they like to compose their own 'salad' on their plate
- It's plentiful and fresh...and a gorgeous presentation
- It's room temperature so it's stress free serving
- And let's not forget... delicious
2 lbs Wild Salmon, roasted
4 c string beans, sauteéd
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut in thick slices
1/2 c thinly sliced red onion
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
1/2 c Moroccan oil cured black olives
1 c Greek yogurt
2 small yellow onions, cut in thick slices/oven roasted
1 endive, leaves separated
2 T chopped basil
1/4 c dill, minced
Olive oil, salt, pepper
In a roasting pan, place the slices of onions, drizzle with the Magic 3 (olive oil, salt & pepper). Roast at 425 degrees, turning once until they are caramelized. About 30 minutes. (These can be done ahead of time and left out at room temp before serving, or even slightly warmed up while the salmon is cooking). While the onions are roasting away, sauté the string beans with the Magic 3 to your liking. I like these with some bite to them.
In a separate roasting pan, place the salmon skin side down. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and add the chopped basil on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees. I do not like dry salmon and prefer to serve medium rare.
While those are cooking away, prep all the other ingredients. Thinly slice the red onion, cut the cucumber. Chop the dill and mix it into the yogurt. Cut the lemon wedges. Separate the endive leaves. (Note: all the previous cutting can be done the day before and place in containers or baggies and kept in the fridge.) Once you have all those prepped, you can start assembling your platter by placing all the above items any way you like. For me, I feel color blocking makes an attractive platter. I like grouping same items together and spreading the color around the plate for visual interest. I also use small bowls to hold certain items like the olives, roe and yogurt. Remember to leave a space for the star; Salmon. For a little more pizazz, I use fennel fronds as a base for the salmon.
I have made this platter several times now and really do love it's presentation, it's flavors and it's adaptability to any guest. I have added boiled potatoes or roasted beets to it on occasion which truly makes it a complete meal in and of itself. This dish can be adapted for a gathering of 4 or a large party of 20. Deconstructed salad... makes the best building blocks of a great meal. Get your entertainment apron on start deconstructing.