Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Dinner Party

Is it sad that I'm 21 years old and I'm already having dinner parties?  I watch Live with Kelly and the Today show every morning while I drink/chug coffee.  My grandma, Mor Mor, is one of my best friends.  I pop blood vessels in my hand when I open doors.  Yes, I am a 60 year old woman trapped in a 21 year old's body. 

So I had 10 people over for my dinner party, family and friends.  I decided to try something ambitious (for me) so on the menu was: Almond Encrusted Salmon with a Pomegranate Glaze, Roasted Asparagus, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and a Summer Salad (even though we're in the middle of winter).  I'm a healthy eater, so I always try to incorporate a lot of vegetables into all my meals.  The biggest challenge was definitely the Almond Encrusted Salmon.  I develop a small case of cooking anxiety whenever I prepare meals for people, so I made sure to have Dominoes on speed dial in case I butchered the meal.  It all ended up turning out wonderfully though, and everyone loved it (or so they told me).

Almond Encrusted Salmon with Pomegranate Glaze

3 pound of salmon or 12 salmon filets
5 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cup crushed roasted almonds
1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup regular seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup flour (any kind works)
3 1/2 teaspoon salt (to liking)
3 teaspoon pepper (to liking)
1 1/3 cup pomegranate balsamic vinegar
1 cup pomegranate juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and set a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with non-stick spray. In a good sized bowl, combine flour, panko, almonds, bread crumbs, and half the salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, add the egg whites and lightly beat with a fork.  You can tell by the picture I made a bit of a mess.  Don't be afraid to get a little dirty!

I bought salmon with the skin on, so the hardest part for me was cutting that skin off.  Does anyone have good tips for cutting the skin off fish?  Make sure you have evenly sliced salmon filets.  Season the salmon with the remaining salt and pepper on both sides. Dip each filet in the egg white and coat thoroughly.  Then put the filet in the bowl containing the bread crumbs.  Coat each piece completely and lightly pressing so the topping sticks. Place the filets on the wire rack. To make them a little more crisp spray the rack and the top of the fish with non-stick spray.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and fish is flakey. After the fish goes into the oven, combine the vinegar and pomegranate juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 5-8 minutes, and keep stirring the mixture. Turn off heat and let sit aside for 10-15 minutes to thicken. I just left it on the side and let everyone take as much as they pleased.

Roasted Asparagus

2 lbs asparagus
olive oil

Now this recipe is a lot easier!  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the bottom ends of the asparagus off. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Drizzle olive oil over them and toss them around a little bit.  Then, sprinkle with salt and pepper to season.  Roast for about 25 minutes, so that they are crisp, yet still tender.  They are delicious and simple.  I'll definitely be making them again :)

For the summer salad, all I do is take romaine lettuce and top it with slices of strawberries and blueberries.  I toast some sliced almonds, by putting them over medium high heat.

Last step to a great dinner party is alcohol!  Well, at least it is for my family.  If we didn't greet them at the door with something to drink they would probably head straight back to the car.  I'm so glad everything turned out, and I didn't have to make an emergency phone call to Dominoes.  Definitely going to be more dinner parties to come :)


  1. What a nice healthy menu for dinner guests. I"ve never seen pomegranate balsamic vinegar but it sounds fantastic. The best way to remove skin from salmon filets is to use a sharp knife and wedge it between the salmon skin and the fillet, then gently pull the piece of salmon towards you while sliding the knife tightly against the skin. Not sure this is clear, but that's how I've seen it done on Food TV Network and it works.

  2. Thanks so much! I think it's time to invest in better knifes and give it another go.