Salt Baked Sea Bass

Seafood is paramount in Catalan cooking! That is why I wanted to serve some whole fish for our Catalan dinner. This simple and beautiful recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner, but is also impressive enough for any feast! Simply stuff the cleaned, intact fish with a few sprigs of rosemary and encrust them in a mixture of egg whites, salt, bay leaves and thyme. So delicious!

Mussels in Escabeche

I was really excited to cook some mussels and decided that they would fit perfectly in the first course. I wanted something light and flavorful, that would give the guests an opportunity to make a bit of a mess and dip some bread into the delicious broth. The broth can be cooked in advance and reheated when you are ready to serve. The broth gives beauty to this fairly expensive and easy to cook dish. Slowly roasted veggies are extenuated with fish stock, paprika, and a mixture of white wine and vinegar. It is really amazing. I will keep the Escabeche on hand in my freezer for future mussel cravings! Serve it with some crusty bread like Baguette or Ciabatta!

Squid Rice with Shrimp and Aioli

I have been particularly interested in squid ink. I love the idea of it and have wanted to use it for a very long time, I figured this would be my opportunity. Here, we combine squid ink and calamari to create a wonderful tinny, “oceany” flavor. The black rice is enlivened with coral shrimp or prawns (I didn’t have prawns on hand but believe it would be a more delicious flavor/presentation) and a garlicky aioli. Find my Aioli recipe here.

Salmon en Papillote with Leeks and Yogurt Dill Sauce

We wanted to have a beautiful and healthy meal to share, but I cannot let go of my need to impress all together, so I thought a lovely piece of fish prepared in a traditional and beautiful manner would be the perfect solution! En Papilotte sounds really fancy, doesn’t it? It really just means in paper. The technique is to wrap a piece of fish and any accompanying goodies in a piece of parchment and seal it so the fish steams in its little envelope as it bakes.

Herring Under its Fur

To finish off our Russian feast, we served the famed Seledka pod shube (Herring Under its Fur). It is a quintessential salad that combines some of our favorite ingredients. Honestly, I have not eaten it that many times in my life, since my family almost always chose to make the Olivier, a more chop and mix kind of dish, but I relish it anytime it is on a menu. To make this dish properly, you need to accept that you will have red-stained hands that smell of salted fish…but boy is it worth it.

Bouillabaisse with Rouille

The Bouillabaisse is foolproof! Bouillabaisse originates from Marseilles and was made of cheap cuts of fish and eaten by fishermen who reserved the better cuts to sell. Since then, it has become a quintessential dish. It is served with baguette and a Rouille drizzled into the soup to add flavor, much in the same way that sour cream is added to the Russian Borsht.

Lobster and Summer Truffle Spaghetti

I was leafing through Alain Ducasse’s book and came across this combination of lobster and fresh truffle, perfect for our fish eaters. I had recently bought a little jar of fresh Summer Truffles since this cookbook required truffle for almost every recipe, and decided Thanksgiving was a great moment to serve it out. I loved a lot of Ducasse’s recipe and was inspired by his flavor profile, but have simplified this recipe to make it easier for the home cook.

Leek and Whey Risotto served with Seared Scallops in Brown Butter

Risotto is a mainstay in the fall for me. I have loved it since my friend Kikki in Brooklyn made some for me with ingredients she brought back from her second home in Bormio. Every time I make it, I think about her bringing the big hunk of Parmesan out of its packaging and grating it liberally into the dish.