The Handsome Spaniard and I were fortunate enough this year to be able to spend Christmas together. The trip was full of fun and frivolity all around Louisville, and there wasn't a bad day among the festivities. We were always with good friends, enjoyed some fantastic nibblies, and celebrated the holiday as we all should, with smiles and tons of laughter.
The best meal we had, in my opinion, was one that we prepared together. Dilled salmon baked in the oven, roasted fennel bulb and potatoes, and asparagus with fennel-orange gremolata. For dessert we still had a little Spanish turrón leftover...if you've never tried turrón, it comes in many forms, but the traditional one is a sweet made of almonds and honey and is so incredibly delicious.
Sounds like a lovely meal, right? It helped to be in the best company in the world, at a table set with flowers and Christmas decorations. It's the small details that make the most unforgettable moments :)
The fennel became the star of the side show, bringing its delightful flavor and its many variations to the table. For the roasted potatoes and fennel bulbs we simply peeled and quartered red potatoes, and cut the fennel bulb, green stalks removed and fronds reserved, about the same size as the potatoes. Tossed it simply in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted that up for about 40 min in a 375º oven. This side stayed warm set on top of the stove while the salmon was cooking.
The asparagus received a quick sauté in olive oil over medium high heat, then I topped it for a few minutes to cook through just until tooth tender...not soggy! The gremolata I prepared was not a true gremolata because I was lacking fresh parsley, but what we did make was a perfect compliment to the asparagus. I took 1/4 cup of olive oil and mixed in the zest of 4 clementines, and the chopped fronds of the fennel...a little salt and we reached perfection. It was light, the citrus rocked out the asparagus, and it was even nice drizzled atop the roasted potatoes and fennel bulb. I used the extra gremolata on toasted bread for the next few days.
If everything is prepped and ready, this is a really easy meal to time and bring out fresh. The natural presentation is beautiful and full of color, a perfect addition to a festive table.
I hope that your holiday celebrations were as magical and wondrous as mine! As you prepare for the New Year, I hope that you have many more great reunions and meals to share.
Happy New Year!
See you in 2013!