The In-Between Meal


Weekend house guests usually linger through Sunday noon, which means that brunch or lunch is on your agenda. Do you serve breakfast food or a more time-transitional menu? I usually pick the latter. This menu of poached salmon and rice salad is the answer. The recipes can be made ahead and work as brunch or lunch.

To make this menu more like brunch, start with mimosas--a mix of Champagne and orange juice--add an egg casserole or scrambled eggs with a platter of crisp bacon, warm biscuits and preserves. For lunch, open with Champagne and add steamed vegetables and a basket of warm rolls. For both brunch and lunch, fresh fruit along with cake--yours or one from the store--ends the meal with a flourish.

Poached Salmon With Sliced Limes

Active Work Time: 15 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 45 minutes plus 4 hours chilling

Be sure to pass the Fresh Ginger Sauce when serving this recipe.

1 large leek, including light green part, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

2 small onions, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

3 cups bottled clam juice

2 cups water

1/4 cup white wine or vermouth

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

6 (6-ounce) center-cut salmon filets, rinsed

2 limes, thinly sliced

* Bring leek, onions, clam juice, water, wine, bay leaf and thyme to boil in 2-quart saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Pour through strainer lined with double thickness of cheesecloth. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen in containers or ice cube trays up to 3 months.)


* Arrange salmon in single layer in 12-inch skillet. Pour liquid over fish to cover; add water as needed to cover fish.

* Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until fish just begins to look opaque in thickest part, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Let fish cool in liquid 1 hour. Use spatula to transfer fish to platter. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or as long as overnight.

* To serve, carefully remove skin from filets. Arrange on platter. Top with overlapping lime slices. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

6 servings. Each serving: 228 calories; 323 mg sodium; 78 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 6 grams carbohydrates; 28 grams protein; 0.52 gram fiber.

Fresh Ginger Sauce

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 5 minutes

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons grated ginger root

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon chile oil

2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

2 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar

* Combine mayonnaise, ginger root, chile oil, cilantro and vinegar in small dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated, covered airtight.) Serve chilled.

1/2 cup. Each tablespoon: 58 calories; 105 mg sodium; 4 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 4 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.01 gram fiber.


Jasmine Rice Salad With Pineapple, Red Pepper and Green Onions

Active Work Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus 3 hours chilling

1 1/4 cups jasmine rice

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon peanut oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups water

1 cup minced pineapple

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon chile oil

1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (including tops)

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1 large bunch watercress, stemmed, for garnish

* Put rice, peanut oil, salt and water in small saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in pineapple; transfer to bowl. Refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.

* Add rice vinegar, chile oil, red pepper, green onions and sesame oil. Toss to mix. (Can be made up to several hours ahead or overnight.) Arrange watercress around edge of platter; spoon salad in center. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

6 servings. Each serving: 209 calories; 202 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 40 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.38 gram fiber.