hot summer daze

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

Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Soups, Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on July 22, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten

Baby it’s hot outside.  Our prewar apartment on Lake Michigan has so much charm, but no central air or personal outdoor space. We do have a few strategically placed portable air conditioner units, but with endless days in the in high 90’s it’s a little warm inside.

So, what’s a girl to do when she planned a party a month ago? Time to put her menu on ice. Everything I’m serving is going to be completely chilled. A sideline perk is that everything will be made hours and days ahead of a time.

With drinks will have caviar and egg cups.

And some awesome trout dip I found at Fahlstrom’s Fish Market when I went in to order my salmon.

For dinner I’m going to start with a cold curried zucchini soup. Not only is it gorgeous, it’s best prepared one or two days in advance to allow the flavors to meld. 

A little drizzle of sour cream thinned with half and half can be a day ahead also.

I found Lavash bread at the Middle Eastern Bakery in Andersonville. Spread a little softened butter, a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan, and a few grinds of pepper and toss in the oven until just crisp. Once cooled break into pieces.

For the main course I’m going old school and making cold poached salmon with a fresh dill sauce. Sprinkle the salmon fillets with a little kosher salt. 

Put sprigs of dill, parsley and sliced shallots in a sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add a half cup dry white wine, a half cup of water and a few peppercorns. Bring to a simmer on medium heat.

Place salmon fillets, former skin-side down in the pan. Cover.

Cook 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet, until just done. Take care not to overcook. 

Carefully transfer the salmon fillet to a platter. Dab off any white bits and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. 

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.

The dill sauce can be made a day or two ahead of time.

On the side, I’ll serve a refreshing little cucumber and onion salad.

And an asparagus vinaigrette, bursting with fresh tarragon. The asparagus can be cooked and blanced earlier in the day as can the tarragon vinaigrette. Refrigerate separately and toss right before serving.

Keeping with the fresh herb vibe, cold boiled thyme potatoes.

As everything chilled in the frig, I shut the blinds and turned on every fan we own until party time.

The heat index was 110 when my guests arrived. But after one bite the evening turned deliciously cool. 

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