Give Mom a day off and prepare a great Mother's Day meal for her

Recipes include: Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Basil Aioli, Grilled Asparagus, Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries

Hey guys, it’s Mother’s Day in a few weeks. How about a day off for Mom? Get together with your brothers, brothers-in-law, father and father-in-law or neighbors and give the women in your lives a worry-free day. No carpools or trips to the supermarket, no scraped knees or tears, no cleaning or cooking.

No matter how she spends her day of freedom, she’ll end it looking and feeling happy and relaxed. Meanwhile, you and your buddies and everyone’s kids can fix dinner. Whether you rock the block with the neighbors or make it family party, the kids will have a blast and so will you.

A fun-filled Mothers’ Day cookout

Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Basil Aioli
Grilled Asparagus
Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries

A few tips …

Make the Panna Cotta and Lemon-Basil Aioli in the morning. Both need to sit a while. Get your kids involved. They can help grate the orange and lemon zests for these recipes as well as stir the cream for the Panna Cotta.

As dinnertime approaches, the older children can help snap the tough ends off the asparagus and peel them if needed. They can also help you wash and cut the strawberries.

Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Basil Aioli
Serves 8

Juice of 1/2 lemon
1-2 T. olive oil
About 3 lbs. salmon fillet, skin-on
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. The fire should be very hot.

Whisk lemon juice and olive oil together in a small bowl and spoon over the salmon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let salmon sit for a few minutes.

Place the salmon, skin side down, on the grill. Depending on the thickness of the fish, grill for 8 to 10 minutes. No need to turn, but if you like grill marks, carefully flip the fish with a wide spatula. Even easier, grill the salmon in a fish basket.

Transfer fish to a cutting board, skin side down, and let fish rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled with Lemon-Basil Aioli.

Lemon-Basil Aioli
Makes about 1 cup

1/4 c. olive oil
1 c. loosely packed fresh basil
1/4 c. loosely packed fresh flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. anchovy paste
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp. or to taste hot pepper sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 c. mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients except mayonnaise in blender or small food processor and process until smooth. Add mayonnaise and process again until smooth and creamy.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to combine the flavors. Whisk to recombine and serve.

Grilled Asparagus
Serves 8

About 2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends removed
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon

While the salmon rests, grill the asparagus. The fire should be very hot.

You may want to peel the thicker asparagus stalks. Start at about an inch down from the flower and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.

Toss asparagus with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill asparagus until tender. Pencil-thin asparagus will only take a minute and there is no need to turn them. Thicker asparagus will take 1-2 minutes per side.

Remove asparagus from the grill and drizzle with lemon juice. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries
Serves 6-8

1/2 c. whole milk or half & half
2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
2 c. heavy cream
Brown sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 c. sour cream
1 T. pure vanilla extract
About 1 qt. strawberries

Combine cream, 1/2 c. brown sugar and orange zest in large saucepan. Stirring frequently, heat cream to steaming on low heat. Remove from heat; continue stirring until sugar dissolves and let the orange zest steep for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put milk in a small bowl, sprinkle with gelatin and let sit until the gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.

Reheat cream to a simmer on medium-low. Add gelatin mixture and whisk until gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat.

Put sour cream into a large measuring cup. A little bit at a time, pour warm cream through a fine mesh sieve and whisk to combine. Stir in the vanilla.

Pour the panna cotta into 6 or 8 small dessert or wine glasses. Chill uncovered until panna cotta has set, 4-6 hours. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 2 days.

Remove panna cottas from refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving. Just before serving, cut strawberries into bite-sized pieces and toss with brown sugar to taste. Top each panna cotta with a generous spoonful of strawberries and serve.

 Susan Nye writes for magazines throughout New England. She shares many of her favorite recipes and stories about food, family and friendship on her award winning blog, Around the Table, at www.susannye.wordpress.com.

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