Countdown to where I'm going to be, come this Thursday...that is, if I can get these editing projects finished, clean up the apt for the subletters, pack for a month and do all the jillion accompanying tasks. Regardless, though, I've got a ticket to Eureka Springs, and when that plane takes off for Fayetteville, well dang it, I'm going to be on it! Dishwasher, double oven, back porch, and strawberry shortcake for 30 (which I'll be making for a special dinner there just a few days after arriving, eeek), here I come!
In the meantime, though, I got to pick a whole lot of lettuce from the the garden,
where it became the base of a very swell salad inspired by the salmon-and-baby-beet salad in Suzanne Goin's lovely (if relentlessly hyped) book Sunday Suppers at Lucques.
I made the salad more of a late-spring fiesta, with blanched asparagus and fava beans, arugula, feathery bits of dill, parsley, and sliced garden radishes in all shades of pink, white, and purple, the whole thing tossed in a vinaigrette of wine vinegar, lemon juice, a big spoonful of Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Since the first-run Copper River salmon at Fish Tales was $30 a pound (yikes! no Jet Blue for this fish, obviously), I topped it instead with chunks of artic char cooked by Goin's salmon method.
The long single filet was plastered on both sides with a paste of minced shallots, dill, tarragon, parsley, the grated rind of 1 lemon, salt and pepper, and a few hearty glugs of olive oil. Then it was laid in a long glass baking pan and tucked into a 250-degree (F) oven with an additional pan half-filled with water placed on the lower shelf. It cooked very slowly in the damp heat for about 20-25 minutes, coming out gently cooked and very moist. Peeled off the skin and chunked the herby fish over the salad mound.
Had I had some edible flowers to throw in, it would have been even prettier. But it was a lovely lunch for the three ladies of PQ Castle (PQ, the PQ Mother, and Aunt PQ) on a summery Sunday, accompanied by fresh croissants from Almondine (actually, the croissants got devoured first, with the night-before's strawberry-rhubarb jam, while the PQ herself was frantically washing and re-washing the garden lettuce) and followed by the fabulous, chewy (not rock-hard) almond biscotti from Court St Pastry and little bowls of fresh cantaloupe with lime.