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Milk Street Entertaining Favorites (EP 407)

Baked Salted Salmon with Dill

Start to finish: 1¾ hours (15 minutes active) | Servings: 4 to 6

To recreate the salmon we had in Norway, we use a 2-pound skin-on center-cut side of salmon and salt it for about an hour before baking in a moderate oven. When shopping, look for a salmon side about 1 inch thick at its thickest part; pieces that are thicker or thinner will require timing adjustments when baking. The salmon will be slightly underdone when removed from the oven; a tented 5- to 10- minute rest will finish the cooking and bring the internal temperature up to 120°F at the thickest part. At this temperature, the fish should be just opaque, not translucent.

Don't delay tenting the salmon with foil after removing it from the oven. If not tented immediately, the salmon may lose too much heat to finish cooking through.


  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, plus more to serve
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2-pound skin-on center-cut side of salmon (see note), pin bones removed
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil Lemon wedges, to serve
  • Quick-pickled cucumbers, to serve


Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a small bowl, combine the dill and 2 tablespoons salt, then rub the mixture with your fingers to break down the dill. Place the salmon flesh side up on the prepared baking sheet. Rub the dill-salt mixture into the surface and sides. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a second rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment, then mist with cooking spray. Rinse the salmon under cold water, rubbing to remove the salt. Pat completely dry with paper towels, then place flesh side up on the second baking sheet. Coat the surface of the fish with the oil and season with pepper. Bake until the edges are opaque and firm to the touch and the center of the thickest part reaches 112°F to 115°F, 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and tent the salmon with foil; let rest 5 to 10 minutes (the temperature of the fish will climb to about 120°F). Using 2 large spatulas, carefully transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped dill and serve with lemon wedges and pickled cucumbers.

Quick-Pickled Cucumbers

Start to finish: 15 minutes, plus chilling | Makes about 2 cups


  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 English cucumber, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced on the diagonal

INSTRUCTIONS In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup water, the vinegar, sugar, salt and dill. Stir in the cucumber, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Browned Butter-Orange Vinaigrette

Start to finish: 40 minutes | Servings: 4

This elegant, wintry side dish was inspired by a recipe from chef Travis Lett’s “Gjelina” cookbook. Caramelized roasted squash is finished with a sauce of browned butter, orange juice and white wine vinegar, the brightness of the acids balancing the richness of the butter. Roasted pistachios lend both texture and vivid color, and their flavor echoes the nuttiness of the browned milk solids in the butter. To double the recipe, place the oven racks in the upper- and lower- middle positions and roast the squash on two baking sheets. Halfway through cooking, when flipping the squash slices, also switch the position of the baking sheets. The sauce is easily doubled.

Don’t add the parsley or the final 1 tablespoon of cold butter to the sauce until ready to serve. The parsley will darken if added in advance and the last bit of butter ensures the sauce is emulsified.


  • 1½- to 2-pound acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1-inch-thick half rings
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, 1 tablespoon chilled
  • Kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup orange juice
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup salted roasted pistachios, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. Place the squash in a large bowl. In a small saucepan over medium, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Drizzle 1 tablespoon over the squash; set the pan with the remaining melted butter aside. Season the squash with salt, then toss to coat. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, then roast until browned on both sides and a skewer inserted into a piece meets no resistance, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the slices once halfway through.

Meanwhile, set the pan with the melted butter over medium and cook the butter, swirling occasionally, until golden brown with a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Add the orange juice and vinegar, then bring to a boil over medium-high. Cook until reduced by about half, 5 to 6 minutes; adjust the heat as needed to maintain a steady simmer. Taste and season with salt, then set aside until ready to serve.

When the squash is done, use a wide metal spatula to transfer the slices to a platter, then sprinkle with pistachios. If the sauce has cooled, rewarm over low, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the 1 tablespoon chilled butter and the parsley until the butter is incorporated. Drizzle the sauce over the squash.

Smashed Potatoes with Chili-Lemon Vinaigrette

Start to finish: 1 hour 20 minutes (25 minutes active) | Servings: 4

To make these creamy-inside, crisp-outside potatoes, we first boil whole fingerlings or small Yukon Golds, then flatten and roast them in a very hot oven. We took a cue from Mokonuts, a popular Parisian café, and dressed the smashed potatoes with a tangy- spicy vinaigrette that nicely accents the potatoes’ starchy, mildly sweet flavor. When boiling the potatoes, begin timing as soon as they’re added to the water. To make ahead, the potatoes can be boiled, smashed, cooled and refrigerated a day in advance; to finish, brush with oil and roast as directed. The vinaigrette can be made in advance except  for the chilies, then covered and refrigerated until ready to use; bring to room temperature and add the chilies.

Don’t let the potatoes cool completely before smashing. They are easier to flatten and they hold their shape better when warm.


  • 2½ pounds fingerling potatoes or small (1- to 1½-inch) Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small jalapeño or Fresno chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Heat the oven to 500°F with a rack in the middle position. In a large pot over high, bring 2 quarts water to boil. Add the potatoes, garlic, rosemary and 1 cup salt, then cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the largest potato meets no resistance, 18 to 22 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet (leaving the rosemary behind); place the garlic in a small bowl. Let the potatoes cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, using a fork, mash the garlic to a paste, then stir in the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of oil, followed by the chilies; set aside.

After the potatoes have cooled slightly, carefully remove the rack from the baking sheet. Wipe away any moisture on the baking sheet and place the potatoes in an even layer directly on the sheet. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup or ramekin, press down on each potato so it is slightly flattened and splits open but remains intact. Brush the tops of the potatoes with the remaining 4 tablespoons oil.

Roast the potatoes without turning them until browned and crisp, 35 to 40 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer to a serving platter, then sprinkle with the parsley and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Vieux Carré

Start to finish: 5 minutes | Makes 1 cocktail

This New Orleans’ classic straddles the

delicious space between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan: rich and bold, yet not heavy. Typically, this drink is made with a combination of Angostura and Peychaud's Bitters, the latter of which adds anise-minty notes. That’s a delicious choice, but I’ve come to favor the brightness orange bitters add.


  • 1 ounce cognac
  • 1 ounce rye
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • ¾ ounce Bénédictine
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • Dash orange bitters
  • Ice cubes


In a stirring glass, combine the cognac, rye, vermouth, Bénédictine and both bitters. Stir with ice cubes. Strain into a coupe.

© 2020 Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. All Rights Reserved.