Last night I met four old friends for dinner in Seattle. We tried a relatively new place in Wallingford called Cantinetta. Three stars from the local reviews and a few friends had been there and had great meals. The space is great-small, warm woods, and a nice intimate bar in the back. After being seated well after our reservation (45+ minutes) we were starving. We ordered five antipasti, the best being the pancetta wrapped dates and the avocado salad with grapefruit and chiles. The fresh cranberry beans with fennel and pecorino sounded delish but, the beans were so undercooked they bordered on crunchy. Pastas were all a beautiful texture-soft and supple-but the dishes themselves were incredibly underseasoned. I’m always surprised when a dish of such amazing ingredients ends up tasting bland because of the lack of salt. Such an easy fix and such a huge miss. My dish, a beef agnolotti in brodo with spinach and lobster mushrooms sounded hearty and satisfying on the menu but, even when I loaded it with salt at the table, no one ingredient popped out as distinct. No one was particulary satisfied with their entree. We ordered bombolini for dessert, Italian style donuts dusted in citrus sugar. They were nice-crisp and crunchy exteriors and tender inside. Then again, it’s pretty hard to screw up a donut 🙂 In the end, we had a fantastic night but it made me realize that sometimes its about the company, and not about the food.
Back at the house my parents hosted a couple of their friends and they grilled fresh salmon on a cedar plank. There are TONS of leftovers so today my goal is to figure out what to make. First thought is fish tacos-I made cole slaw yesterday and before we dressed it we set aside some of the shredded cabbage/carrot/onion mixture because we had too much. Today I may toss that in a bit of mayo spiked with some chipotles and adobo and put it in warm corn tortillas with chunks of salmon. Another idea is salmon cakes, made in the style of crab cakes. Shredding the salmon with a fork, I’ll fold in a beaten egg, a handful of panko breadcrumbs, minced chives or green onion, salt and pepper. If there is some horseradish around that would be great inside too. I’ll coat the outsides with more panko and lightly pan fry them in a mixture of oil and butter. Serving them on top of a simple dressed salad would make a great meal. Curious…what do you do with leftover salmon?
I love trying new restaurants but, sometimes the old favorites are your best bet-be it dinner out or salmon at home with friends.