Supper was to be flash roasted pesto salmon, potato rosti, and braised fennel with lemon.See how lovely the finished potatoes look in the book: beautiful and creamy with bright green flecks of parsley, surrounded by a perfectly cooked golden layer of deliciousness? And the braised fennel-- again a lovely creamy color with bright green flecks of parsley. Oh, how I was looking forward to presenting a meal of such beauty and watching Mr. G gaze in wonder at my glorious creation!
Everything began well enough. Evening rain was predicted, so I had, earlier in the day, gathered some basil and parsley from the greenhouse and put the stalks in water to keep them fresh. I'd roasted some pine nuts and had them standing by, chopped some garlic,and grated some Parmesan. They all went in the blender with some olive oil and out came a lovely pesto- it looked and smelled delicious! Then it all began to go downhill.
The potato recipe called for peeling and grating the potatoes. In the process of grating them I also
grated one of my fingers, which bled profusely. While I was stemming the flow of blood and trying to find the Neosporin and Band-Aids, the grated potatoes were just sitting there, getting surly and turning a rather nasty color. Once the finger was bandaged up, I squeezed the moisture out of the now discolored potatoes as directed and proceeded with the recipe, which called for adding chopped parsley.
I mentioned in my last post how hopeless I am with a knife. So I don't use one to chop parsley or other herbs. I use a wonderful little gadget called a mezzaluna- a rocking blade with a wooden handle that makes quick work of mincing parsley or most anything else. It's perfect for knife-challenged folks like me. I have an addiction to kitchen gadgetry. Most of the gadgets get used a few times then are relegated to the back of a gadget drawer and forgotten. This one however, is very useful and gets used a lot.
The salmon didn't look too bad, in fact , it was quite nice looking. Placed on a parchment covered baking sheet, given a generous coating of pesto, surrounded by cherry tomatoes and capers, then drizzled with oil, it looked pretty darn good I thought. The pink salmon, green pesto and cheerful little red tomatoes complemented each other well .It got popped into a hot (425ºF) oven for 6-8 minutes and came out still looking pretty good.
However, everything else lost something in translation when it all got together on the plate, as you can see.
The colors were off, so the presentation was sorely lacking, and as I said, when you cut into the potatoes they were sort of gray and unappetizing inside. The fennel looked OK but Mr. G said it had way too much lemon and I think he's right. The fennel is definitely worth trying again, but with less lemon, and the salmon was quite delicious and is worth repeating. The potatoes, on the other hand, were really not worth the trouble and I will leave them to more skilled cooks like Annabel.
Oh, well. Sometimes it all works, sometimes it doesn't. I still wonder, though, could a food stylist have made it look a little more appetizing? I doubt it. Maybe our next meal will be more photogenic and a little less lemony. Hope springs eternal.