October last year we started planning a big party. 2020 would be the year of ‘special occasions’ : 40th birthday of my wife Iris, our 10th wedding anniversary and official inauguration of our renovated home. Guests were invited, flights were booked, guesthouses were reserved, events were planned,…it was supposed to be 4 really special days in May amongst family and friends. In January the first covid19 news came by and Iris already predicted the further evolution. We still waited to cancel until we were almost sure flights could be reimbursed or rescheduled, rooms could be cancelled without extra fees. The whole scenario is waiting in a little notebook. This all is not relevant compared with what is happening in the world. On the 30th of October we enjoyed our daily dinner in all intimacy, with some extra candlelight and flowers for the occasion. Our large table is waiting for guests, but in the meantime we dine in all safety.
The dish in the middle is filled with a delicate fish casserole, a recipe of Janneke Philippi of delicious.nl.
This dinner is for 2-4p ( depends on appetite, possible other courses). Heat a pan. Add 1 kilo of cleaned shells, in my case mussels and vongole. Close the pan. Once the shells are opening, stop the fire. Drain and keep the cooking liquid. Chop 1 large fennel, 500 grams of baby courgettes ( the last ones from our garden) and, of course, 4 garlic cloves. Heat the same pan, add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the fennel and bake for approximately 10 mins. Add the courgettes and garlic later and bake for 5 more minutes. Stop the fire. Heat 1 large table spoon of butter. Add 1 large table spoon of flour. Stir constantly. Once you get the typical cookie smell, add the cooking liquid (approximately 400 ml). Stir constantly until the sauce start boiling and thickening. Add 100 ml of cream to soften texture and flavor. Stop the fire. Add 1 table spoon of grain mustard and 1 table spoon of dijon mustard ( to make it a little bit spicier). Finish with 30 grams of grated parmesan(originally Janneke Philippi suggested gruyere which has a more particular flavor). Taste, add pepper and salt if needed.
Spread 300 grams of fresh salmon cubes and 300 grams of good quality peeled shrimps in the pan with vegetables.
Put the dish in the oven at 200° for approximately 1h. Finish with the chopped green of the fennel.
PS if you prepare this dish for 4p, I would add some farro or tagliatelle or puree.