Recipe countdown: For the next 10 days I will share a main course recipe from Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease. After all, it is the time of year where we all crave abundance without the burden. A nice holiday gift? A copy of the book from Amazon. For me, I'd love a fruitcake. Salmon & Mint in Crispy Grape Leaves This is an unusual fish dish for this time of the year but it's one of my favorites. Serve it on a mound of couscous mixed with orzo -- a new combo for me. I invented it this morning! Add a side dish of tiny roasted Brussels sprouts with a drizzle of walnut oil, sea salt and lemon zest. What to drink? Open a great bottle of pinot noir from Oregon or France, depending on your mood. This recipe is easily doubled, or tripled, and so is quite desirable for a holiday menu.
1/2 cup crème fraîche (I love the one from Vermont Creamery) 1 small garlic clove 4 thick salmon fillets, 7 ounces each, skin removed 2 medium bunches fresh mint 8 large grape leaves in brine, rinsed and dried 3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the crème fraîche with the garlic, pushed through a press. Add salt to taste. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Top each fillet with 6 mint leaves. Wrap each piece of fish tightly in 2 overlapping grape leaves, tucking in the ends as you go. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the packets and cook over high heat until crispy, 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the fish to a rimmed baking sheet and scatter with mint sprigs. Bake 8 minutes, until the fish is just firm. Serve with the crème fraîche and crispy mint. Drizzle with additional oil, if desired. Serves 4