4 course summer dinner: last supper

Our neighbors recently moved, but not before we had them over for dinner.  Dinner at 7:30, I started shopping at 5 and cooking at 5:30.  Can you say pressed for time?


Green salad with fried shallots and tzatziki dressing

Seared salmon with basil/cilantro emulsion and salmon cracklins

Bistecca a la Fiorentina with fresh corn cob and Spanish style aromatic vegetable sautee

Caramelized peaches over vanilla ice cream with pan sauce and homemade chocolate chip cookies

Wine pairings:  Riesling, Pinot Noir


Dressing is a Greek style dressing, it’s nice and light but creamy and sharp.

1 cup of Greek yogurt

lemon juice to taste

olive oil to create emulsion

chopped dill 1-2 tbsp

Whisk it all together in a bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  The trick is consistency.  If it’s too thick either add more water or lemon juice depending on how tart.  If it’s too thin add yogurt or olive oil, again depending on flavors and how strong the oil is.

From 2010-07-19 – 2010-07-26 summer camp and last supper with Kendalls

Cut a shallot into small rings and fry over moderate heat until brown.  Be careful, this will go quick and you can easily overcook.  Dry on a  napkin and salt if you’d like.  If you’ve never added fried shallots to a salad, it’s easy and adds a lot of pop.  Add the greens, chopped tomato, chopped cucumber, and shallots tossing together and serve.  Dress individually tableside.

From 2010-07-19 – 2010-07-26 summer camp and last supper with Kendalls

Tzatziki is really the dressing with cucumber that you can use to dress any number of things like lamb or meat.  Alternatively this can be served on the side by itself.  Wonderful combination of flavors if you haven’t tried it.


As with any fish, freshness goes without saying.  I found some wild-caught salmon which differs from farm raised in the content of omega-3 fatty acids because wild fish eat other fish, not genetically engineered corn with chemicals that enhance that are designed to enhance the color and make it darker.

From 2010-07-19 – 2010-07-26 summer camp and last supper with Kendalls

I bought it skin on, and using a slicing knife separated fish from skin and sliced the skin into thin strips.

Basil-cilantro emulsion

Here’s where the Vita-Mix comes in handy as it will pulverize anything into a smooth emulsion.  Taking a half-bunch of cilantro including stems, couple of handfuls of mint, minced jalapeno, lime juice, olive oil and salt, the sauce was emulsified in blender until smooth.  Taste it until you get a sharp, tasty sauce.  Pass liquid through a strainer to eliminate any clumps, and there you go!  Be careful to not let the blender run too high, because it will overheat the mixture and dull the color of the green.  You might also consider not adding acid until the end for the same reason.  This is the reason why you shock blanched veggies because you’re arresting the cooking process.

Fry the salmon strips in flavorless oil until crispy.  Like bacon, use lower temperature than you think you need.  Drain on paper and salt.  Sear the salmon over moderate heat until just cooked through.   If you’re cooking ahead of time, leave it a little raw and place in a low warming oven.  Be careful to not overcook it, though.

From 2010-07-19 – 2010-07-26 summer camp and last supper with Kendalls


From 2010-07-19 – 2010-07-26 summer camp and last supper with Kendalls

Two porterhouse (thick T-bone consisting of ribeye and filet, bone-in) flavored with salt, pepper, olive oil, rosemary, and lime or lemon zest.  Sear over ultra-high heat, and let it rest.  Check temperature, finish in the oven to a final temperature of 125-135 depending on desired doneness.  I wanted to do these on the grill, but the weather didn’t allow it.  That’s the ideal place because I can get higher heat there than on the stove top.  It’s perfectly acceptable to sear, rest, then finish.  Make sure you save the juices at every step and use them to sauce the meat at the end.  Finish tableside with slices of citrus on top of the meat, traditionally lemons, but you can use oranges or limes.

Vegetable sautee

Glazed carrots (see earlier post) with butter, cumin, coriander powder, cayenne.  Slice the carrots and lightly soften over low heat.  Add water and simmer until the carrots are fork tender.  Drain excess water, add butter, orange juice and sautee over high heat until the carrots are coated with the glaze.

In a separate pan, sautee a thin-sliced onion with a couple of cloves of garlic and thin sliced mushrooms.  Sprinkle with smoked paprika, and add a little bit of sherry vinegar when the veggies are softened.  Adjust liquid as needed to make a slightly thick sauce.  Add the carrots, remove from heat, and toss together.

While this was going on, render fat and crisp 3-4 slices of bacon.  Alternatively and maybe preferably, this could be chorizo.  Once it’s crispy, drain, and add to the mixture.  Adjust salt flavor.  You can keep this in a warming oven, but if you do, wait to add the bacon to the last second.  This is a fridge clearer and a combination of 2 recipes that we’ve done here before.

From 2010-07-19 – 2010-07-26 summer camp and last supper with Kendalls

Toasted bread

From 2010-07-19 – 2010-07-26 summer camp and last supper with Kendalls

Everything is better with fried bread.  Unfortunately, this turned out to one of the most time-consuming dishes because I burned the first two batches.    Slice to desired thickness, oil and salt both sides, and put under the broiler about 2-3 minutes each side.  Watch carefully.  Alternatively, dress the same way and grill.

Corn was just market fresh corn boiled and salted.  Just something to keep the freshness on the main plate.


From 2010-07-19 – 2010-07-26 summer camp and last supper with Kendalls

Fresh peaches, peeled and sliced, quickly caramelized in hot butter and seasoned with a touch of cayenne pepper and salt.  Sautee until just browned, save the pan drippings and add a little honey and heavy cream until slightly browned.  Serve over vanilla ice cream and drizzle with the honey/caramel sauce.  We just happened to have some cookies to serve, but I don’t know that chocolate chip goes with this better than sugar cookies.

The point is that you can throw all of this together pretty quickly.  The complexity is up to you and how you want to layer it.  Sure, there are a lot of slower food preparations, but when the produce is fresh, the really lend themselves to quick preparations and bold flavors.  There are some techniques involved like broiling, blending, sautee, fish cookery, and pan sauce preparation, but nothing out of this world.  For a multi-course dinner, think about progression:  salad as the starter (although it doesn’t have to be), seafood before red meat, and warm fresh fruit contrasting with ice cream.

Thanks RANDP for being good neighbors and good luck with the move!


One thought on “4 course summer dinner: last supper

  1. Pingback: appetizer menu for white wine tasting « Big Dawg Eats

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