Time is a luxury today. That's why many of my friends enjoy midday entertaining on the weekends. Whether the venue is brunch or lunch, simple or elaborate, Saturday or Sunday, city or country, the occasion is always festive because the rhythm is relaxed. There's time to enjoy the food, conversation and good times. Consider this refreshing, colorful menu for a spring lunch or noon brunch; the preparation is easy, much of it made ahead.
- 4 shallots, quartered
- 2 garlic cloves, halved
- 3 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
- 2 Cups water
- 1/4 Cup dry vermouth
- 3 Tablespoons mustard seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 pieces (about 6 ounces each) fresh salmon, center-cut, skin removed
- 1/2 Cup light mayonnaise
- 1/4 Cup Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons light sour cream
- 1/4 Cup snipped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
Step 1: In a medium saucepan, put 4 quartered shallots, 2 halved cloves garlic, 24 ounces clam juice, 2 cups water, 1/4 cup vermouth, 3 tablespoons mustard seeds and 1 bay leaf.
Step 2: Heat to boil; reduce heat, simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
Step 3: Pour over bowl into strainer lined with double-thickness cheesecloth. Cool strained liquid.
Step 4: In a large skillet, arrange salmon fillets in single layer. Pour liquid over fish. Add water, as needed, to cover fish.
Step 5: Heat to simmer over medium-high heat; reduce heat, gently cook, uncovered, until fish just begins to look opaque in thickest part, about 10 minutes.
Step 6: Remove from heat. Cool fish in liquid for 1 hour. Transfer fish to platter. (Liquid may be frozen for soups, sauces or poaching other fish.) Refrigerate fish until chilled, about 3 hours.
Step 7: For mustard dill sauce, combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup mustard, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons sour cream and 1/4 cup dill in small bowl.
Step 8: To serve, spread thin layer of mustard sauce on each salmon filet. Garnish salmon and platter with dill sprigs. Pass remaining mustard sauce.