Northwest Cooking for Couples
September 13, 2005 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Dinnerfilter: Help me decide what my girlfriend and I should cook for her birthday. We live in Seattle and prefer things the are Seasonal and Local (tm) and are not averse to digging around the market and fishmongers.

We eat a lot of seafood and some meat. Plus the occaisional ribeye. Mussels are coming into season and we're pretty excited about that. A new appetizer recipe for mussels would not go amiss.

Aside from sashimi, we mostly cook in the California/Pacific Northwest style. Our favorite restaurant is Dandelion and we cook in that style, generally. Caprial Pence has written a number of cookbooks from which we regularly and happily cook.

We are pretty good cooks and not intimidated by difficulty, but this is a birthday dinner, so the recipe should be complicated but the fun kind of complicated. Lots of chopping and sauteing are great, but hours of basting would be less fun.

I was hoping to have about three courses and desert or cheese. My plan is to get everything prepped and cook and eat each course before moving on to the next. I realize that there are lots of recipes online, but our cooking has been in a bit of a rut lately and I'm hoping the good citizens of metafilter will come up with some directions that wouldn't have occured to me otherwise. Thanks much.
posted by stet to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
For a good seafood dish, I like a salmon roulade. It's basically scallops wrapped in flounder wrapped in salmon, then topped with some herbs. I adapted this recipe a bit:

From Alton Brown

I'm not sure what you mean by prep and cook each course before moving to the next, but this is something that you have to prep before hand because it has to sit in the fridge for a bit.

I think I have some pictures from when I made it, it might help to see an example too.
posted by jonah at 3:13 PM on September 13, 2005

Response by poster: Oooh, that looks good. Really good.

By "prep and cook each course before moving to the next" I meant that I need to develop some rudimentary writing skills and, more usefully, that I like to have all of the ingredients set up before I start, then cook a course and eat it before moving on to the next.
posted by stet at 3:24 PM on September 13, 2005

There's an awesome cheese shop in the Pike Place Market.
posted by matildaben at 3:37 PM on September 13, 2005

do you get scorpion fish at your local fishmonger's?

if you do, cook her by all means scorfani in guazzetto and open a nice bottle of Greco di Tufo, cold but not too chilled

a bit of opera on the stereo is always a good idea -- may I suggest one of Mozart's Italian operas (Le Nozze di Figaro, with Kathleen Battle, Maestro Muti conductor, on EMI, would be my choice. you cannot go wrong with Da Ponte)

I'll throw in a bonus. tell her: buon compleanno, amore
posted by matteo at 4:33 PM on September 13, 2005

Here's a recipe I picked up from some time with Seattle natives. Each time I make it, it gets people asking for more:

Sakē Salmon
• 2 salmon filets (6-8 oz)
• 1/2 cup sakē
• 1 1/3 tbsp granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup soy sauce
• 1 tbsp freshly chopped ginger
• 1 tsp safflower oil
• 1 lemongrass stalk, sliced
• 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Remove bones from filets. In glass baking dish sized to fit filets, combine sakē, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, oil, lemongrass and stir together until fully mixed. Add filets flesh-side down and marinate, covered for 30 min in refrigerator. Longer is fine.

2. Preheat oven to 350'F. Meanwhile, pour marinade into saucepan and boil to reduce by 1/3 over medium-high heat. Stir vigorously. Turn filets flesh-side up and brush with 1/2 of reduced mixture. Discard lemongrass slices.

3. Bake salmon uncovered for 10 minutes at 350'F. Place small metal tray with unroasted sesame seeds next to glass dish to bake with the fish.

4. Remove salmon from oven and brush with almost all remaining glaze (save a bit for decoration at the end). Bake another 5-10 minutes until the salmon is pink and opaque — salmon should "flake" off. Remove the sesame seeds when they turn a nutty brown; you may need to watch on them on the second round of baking.

(Personal serving recommendations follow)

5. Serve on square plates, next to a 1 cup serving of sushi rice and drizzle a little of the remaining glaze atop fish. Sprinkle sesame seeds atop fish and sauce by hand.

6. For color, begin to sauté chopped garlic, salted mushrooms, red bell pepper and unsalted butter at the start of step 4. Serve veggies sparingly next to fish, with two short glasses of near-ice-cold sakē.
posted by Rothko at 8:37 PM on September 13, 2005

For desert, follow with rice pudding and green tea.
posted by Rothko at 8:38 PM on September 13, 2005

Rothko writes "For desert, follow with rice pudding and green tea."

Mmmm. Or after a meal like that, the best green tea ice cream you can find. You've just settled my weekend meal. Thanks!
posted by fionab at 9:02 PM on September 13, 2005

There's a modest little Thai place here where I live that is my favorite restaurant in the world. After they opened every chef in the area started going there to eat and Thai dishes suddenly started popping up on menus all over town. One of the favorite dishes that got stolen was their Thai Basil Mussels. I don't have their recipe, but I bet if you use this one and add a big handful of fresh(!) julienned basil at the very end right before you serve it, you will be in culinary heaven. You could use yellow curry or red.
posted by wsg at 1:32 AM on September 14, 2005

This is my all-time favourite recipe for mussels. I like to add a few red pepper flakes to give it a spicier taste. I also use Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay, a nice buttery Australian wine. You can chop up everything before-hand, throw it all into a pot and it tastes great with some a nice crusty baguette.
posted by KathyK at 5:57 AM on September 14, 2005

stet- I understand now. I think that a mussels appetizer followed by the roulade would be a great presentation. The nice thing about the roulade is that it cooks pretty quick and looks fancy without a ton of work or ingredients.

You prep the fish, roll it in parchment paper and put it in the fridge to set. Right before you cook it, you slice it and you can show your girlfriend the rings of fish and scallops. I made it for my family on Mothers day and there were plenty of oohs and ahhs. It looks good and tastes great.

The flounder was really good in it, but down here (in LA), it's not always available, ask your fish monger for a suitable replacement.
posted by jonah at 9:21 AM on September 14, 2005

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