the skinny on supper

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Salads and Dressings, Fish and Seafood, Poultry, Supper, Dinner Party, Sources, Posted on July 20, 2012 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)

 

Pulling a Friday night party together in a flash. With temps literally off the chart who wants to greet their guests with a blast from the kitchen? Not only is this dinner prepped entirely ahead of time; the grilling is done before the first guests arrive. This light, fresh and super fast meal is the perfect kick-off to the weekend. So beat the heat and create a flavor-packed dinner for six in no time flat.

I don’t know if there is a lighter, brighter and more ethereal first course than a smoked trout stack.

smoked trout stack

Flake the smoked trout taking care to remove the skin, any dark meat and bones. This can be done earlier in the day, cover and refrigerate.

smoked trout stack

For the wonton crisps brush a sturdy sheet pan with melted butter. Top with wonton wrappers and brush with melted butter.

smoked trout stack

Under a careful eye bake until just golden brown. Cool on paper towels. These can be made hours ahead of a time. Cover with plastic wrap at room temp.

smoked trout stack

To serve place one wonton crisp on a plate. Top with ¼ cup of lightly dressed arugula. Top with another wonton crisp. Then top with 2 tablespoons flaked smoked trout. Sprinkle with a ½ tsp of chopped scallions and a squirt of fresh lemon juice.

Here’s the easiest grilled chicken ever. It’s so effortless it’s almost embarrassing. I’m amazed at how many agonize over the grill. Time to call foul and share this super simple secret. Two essential ingredients are needed- fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are NOT too large and fresh Italian dressing from your favorite Italian restaurant.

grilled chicken breasts

I’m not sure how Italian restaurants make their Italian dressing. Even with my finest “food detective” cap on I haven’t been able to solve that riddle. And don’t you be tempted to reach for that premade, prepackaged jar or bottle. Next time you’re at your favorite Italian eatery rave about the dressing and ask if you can purchase a pint to take home. I pick up mine from Rinaldo at DiSalvo’s Deli in Dayton. It’s out of this world.

grilled chicken breast

Place the chicken breasts in a large Ziploc bag. Add one tablespoon dressing per breast. Remove the air, seal the bag and gently shake to cover chicken with the dressing “marinade”.

grilled chicken breast

Heat the grill to high. Carefully spray the grill grate with cooking spray. Remove the breasts from the marinade and grill for about four minutes per side or until just cooked through. Transfer to a platter, tent with foil and leave at room temperature until ready to serve. This can be done an hour or so ahead of a time.

spinach salad with fig preserves

On the side serve a crisp spinach salad with apples, blue cheese, walnuts and fig dressing. Here's this secret- fig preserves.

spinach salad with fig preserves

Combine the fig preserves with chopped shallot, whisk in fresh lemon juice.

spinach salad with fig preserves

Whisk in the walnut and olive oils. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

spinach salad with fig preserves

Cut crisp apples first into thick slices. Then into matchsticks.

spinach salad with fig preserves

Toss with lemon juice so they don’t discolor. Cover and refrigerate.

spinach salad with fig preserves

Slice red onions and cut into quarters. Cover and refrigerate.

spinach salad with fig preserves

Crumble up some creamy bleu Auvergne. Cover and refrigerate.

spinach salad with fig preserves

Throw in a handful of candied walnuts. Trader Joe’s has them ready to go straight out of the bag.

spinach salad with fig preserves

When ready to serve lightly toss the fresh spinach with one tablespoon fig dressing per serving. Add the apples, red onions, blue cheese, walnuts and toss just until combined. Serve immediately.

grilled chicken

All that’s left to do now is to have fun with your friends.

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