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Oct 11, 2018 11:10 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Whip Up Dinner For Surprise Guests: Spinach Fettuccine And Baked Apples

Oct 11, 2018 11:10 AM

Ever had unexpected guests arrive? I was happily surprised this past week when friends arrived late in the afternoon. As evening drew near, together we made the following menu.

We attached thinly sliced salami around green bell pepper strips and nibbled on grape tomatoes, chunks of cheddar cheese, assorted green and black olives while sipping on sparkling rosé wine as an aperitif!

I halved the apples and sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top and put the dish in the oven. Meanwhile, I gathered the ingredients and collectively we made the sauce for the pasta, steamed the broccoli, assembled the salad, and cooked the pasta! It was a delicious team effort! We enjoyed a bottle of slightly chilled Pinot Noir with our dinner.

There’s no need to wait for unexpected guests, you can create this dinner tonight. Bon appétit!

Spinach Fettuccine 
With Salmon, Shallots 
And Capers
(Serves 4)

About 3 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium shallots, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

About 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

10- to 12-ounce fillet boneless and skinless salmon, cut into thin strips (or more to taste)

1/2 cup dry vermouth

About 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 pound spinach fettuccine

About 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for passing

Several sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

4 small fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped for garnish

Optional: about 2 tablespoons capers

To prepare:

In a large skillet over moderate high heat, add olive oil; when hot, add shallots and onion and sauté about two or three minutes. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley and continue cooking until soft and translucent. Add salmon and sauté briefly, about one minute.

Transfer the salmon to a side dish, leaving shallots onion and garlic in the pan.

Add vermouth and ignite until the flames burn out.

Add lemon juice and simmer about two minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

To serve:

In a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, add the fettuccine and cook until al dente or according to the directions on the side of the package. Reserve about two-thirds cup of the cooking water, drain pasta shake off the excess water.

Immediately add the pasta to the shallot mixture in the skillet, along with enough reserved water to create a sauce; add capers, the reserved salmon, and reheat.

Add about 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, toss to mix well, and transfer the pasta to heated bowls. Garnish with tomatoes and parsley and pass freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the table.

Salad Greens 
With Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Balsamic Vinegar
(Serves 4)

About 6 cups mixed washed salad greens, arugula, spinach, and romaine

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

3 Kirby cucumbers, scrubbed and thinly sliced

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Maldon sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

To prepare:

In a mixing bowl, toss salad greens together with sliced onions and cucumbers.

Drizzle only enough olive oil on the salad until the leaves glisten.

Drizzle balsamic vinegar on the salad according to taste, season with salt and pepper, toss well, and serve at once.

Baked Apples 
With Whipped Cream
(Serves 4)

4 firm red-skinned apples, washed, halved, and cored


1 teaspoon unsalted butter, cut into 8ths

About 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Optional: About 1 teaspoon sugar divided among the apple halves

About 1/3 cup water

1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled

Grated zest of one lemon

1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar ore more to taste

To prepare:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash and cut the apples in half, remove the core and place them in a baking dish large enough to hold the apples cut side up in one layer.

Add a small “dab” of butter in the center of each half apple, dust with cinnamon, and sprinkle with sugar if desired. Add water to the bottom of the baking dish. Bake uncovered until the apples are tender to the point of a fork, about 35 minutes. (Baking time will depend on the variety of the apples.)

Transfer the apples to a dessert plate. Add a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream in the center of each apple.

With a hand-held electric mixer, add cream to a bowl and whip until soft peaks form, add zest and sugar, and whip about 20 seconds longer until the stiff peaks form. Refrigerate if whipping ahead of time.

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