Planning a party can be daunting. We are always looking for fresh ideas, but the workload must be reasonable. Today, my daughter-in-law, Maria, and I hosted a baby shower for my niece, Leigh. The challenge was a fresh idea for a luncheon for 25. Having attended several baby showers over the past year, we experienced many nice events, but we wanted to do something a bit different. At a recent book club gathering, my friend Lynn Muto served a “deconstructed Niçoise” and I loved the term, so I decided to do a luncheon version of her idea.
The menu included poached salmon, prepared in a small amount of water, shallots, lemons, parsley and dry sherry. The salmon was perfect when poached approximately 8 minutes. We served the salmon with capers and sliced Kalamata olives, surrounded by dill and lemon wedges. With the salmon, we served traditional tri-colored fingerling potatoes, which I roasted with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. The potatoes were cooled to room temperature, but not chilled. Green beans, an important component in any Niçoise, were steamed for approximately 7 minutes to keep them crisp, but not raw. A cherry tomato and Kalamata olive medley in a balsamic vinaigrette and truffled deviled eggs completed the line-up. For the deviled eggs, just add a teaspoon or two of truffle oil to your standard deviled egg recipe.
Two toppings were provided with the salad: a yogurt and chopped dill topping and our champagne vinaigrette, the most popular of the two. The centerpiece of the luncheon table was homemade lemon scones, coming from my new cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis (Author), Renato Poliafito (Author), Tina Rupp (Photographer).
A purchased cake and lattés were offered as a break from opening the many beautiful baby gifts.