Three Cheers, And Courses, For Mothers!


Why not make dinner for the mother, or mothers, in your life this Sunday using the local fish and fresh produce available here on the East End?

Start with a champagne toast to her with salted Marcona Almonds or cheese straws to nibble on. For the first course, make a green salad with mustard vinaigrette, followed by fillet of sole almondine, short grain brown rice pilaf and a pair of vegetables—perhaps roasted sesame potatoes and steamed asparagus—for the main course.

And don’t forget dessert. I recommend an old-fashioned strawberry shortcake to complete the dinner. Bon “Happy Mother’s Day” appétit!

Fillet Of Sole Almondine(Serves 6)6 5- to 6-ounce fillets of grey sole, lemon sole or flounder

1/3 cup Wondra flour, for dusting

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Canola oil, for sautéing

1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juiceTo prepare:Rinse fish under cold running water.

Run your finger down the spiny column in the center of each fillet.

Cut on both sides of the column with a sharp knife and discard it, leaving two pieces of fish per person.

Mix flour, salt and pepper on a plate.

Dust two pieces of fish with flour.

Tap off the excess.

Coat the bottom of a large skillet with canola oil.

Place over moderately high heat.

Add the fish to the pan when the oil is shimmering.

Sauté until the edges just begin to brown, about 2 minutes.

Turn the fillets over.

Cook about 1 minute longer.

Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Repeat on the remaining fillets.

Pour off excess oil, leaving any browned specks in the pan.

Add butter and almonds.

Sauté until light brown.

Add half of the lemon juice.

Stir quickly.

Remove from heat.

Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Transfer fish to warm dinner plates.

Spoon almond sauce on top.Short Grain Brown Rice Pilaf(Serves 6)2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon thyme or tarragon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups short grain brown rice

5 cups chicken stock, boiling

Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnishTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Coat the bottom of a heavy casserole with oil.

Place over moderately high heat.

Add onion.

Sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add herbs, salt, pepper and rice.

Stir until the rice glistens, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add boiling stock all at once.

Stir well until it returns to a boil.

Cover the casserole.

Bake until all the liquid is absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven.

Place a paper towel under the lid.

Let stand until ready to serve and garnish with parsley.Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake(Serves 6)For the biscuits:

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1½ teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the berries and cream:

1/4 cup sugar

1¼ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 pints fresh strawberries, picked over, hulled and sliced with a few whole berries, for garnishTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Place parchment paper on baking sheet.

Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a food processor bowl.

Pulse to combine.

Add cold butter.

Pulse until the mixture is crumbly.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Whisk buttermilk, egg yolk and vanilla together in a measuring cup, until frothy.

Pour the liquid in the center of the flour.

Stir until it becomes manageable dough, adding more buttermilk if necessary.

Flour your hands.

Roll dough into a ball and place it on a floured waxed paper.

Pat dough into an even thickness, about 3/4 inch.

Cut into 3-inch rounds.

Transfer them to the baking sheet.

Gather the scraps of dough.

Pat out again into biscuit forms.

Bake until the biscuits are pale golden, 11 to 14 minutes.

Transfer biscuits to a wire rack.

Cool for 10 minutes.

Add sugar, to taste, to the sliced berries.

Whip the cream and vanilla in a mixing bowl, until soft peaks form.

Fold the berries into 2/3 of the whipped cream.

Reserve the remaining cream for topping.

Cut each biscuit in half.

Place the bottom halves on dessert plates.

Add a large spoonful of strawberries and cream on each half.

Place the top of the biscuit on the berries.

Add whipped cream and garnish with a strawberry.

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