I'm having folks over for dinner on Saturday and experimenting on them with some untried recipes, but I need a side dish. I was thinking about sauteeing some spinach or broccoli with garlic but, I don't know, that seems a little boring. Since I'm starting with gnocchi, I've been hesitating about having potatoes or couscous or another starch. Here's the menu - tell me what you think...
Starter: ricotta gnocchi with browned butter and sage - the recipe for the gnocchi (ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, salt, flour) appears to be relatively easy and says I can prepare and refrigerate the gnocchi up to 4 hours before actually boiling them, and the browned butter/sage seems simple enough. Any advice?
Main course: grilled mahimahi fillets - the fillets marinate overnight in olive oil with chopped assorted herbs, like basil, thyme, parsley. Then they're sprinkled with lemon juice, seasoned with S&P and grilled, covered, about 4-5 minutes per side. Again, especially 'cause I'm not ultra confident about grilling fish, I'd appreciate any insights you may have.
Salad course: grilled watermelon with goat cheese and watercress - grilling watermelon seems pretty unusual to me, but intriguing, no? You slice a small seedless watermelon (1 slice per serving) and cut off the rinds. Brush the slices with olive oil and season with S&P, then grill a minute or two on each side. Toss some watercress with vinegar, S&P. To serve, you sprinkle each slice with some crumbled goat cheese and then top with the watercress mixture.
Dessert: lemon panna cotta with blackberry sauce - recipe from Bon Appetit magazine linked below. It's something I can prepare on Friday evening, so I won't have to think about it until time to eat. The picture looks really pretty and I figure that, if I can't find frozen blackberries for the sauce in the little market near our weekend house, I can use whatever they've got - raspberries, strawberries, blueberries...
Anyway, if anyone can come up with a reasonably simple side dish other than the sauteed greens I've sort of settled on, I'd love to hear your ideas. I'll be concentrating pretty hard on the last-minute prep for the gnocchi, fish and salad, so something I can prepare ahead of time would be wonderful, but not crucial. Could be a hot dish or cool/room temp.