Hosting a dinner party is a special kind of occasion. You welcome old and new friends into your home and gather around the table. You put out platters of food prepared just for that table of people, passing them around until everyone’s had their fill. This sense of sharing and togetherness feeds more than just bellies. It is what helps us stay connected, form new relationships, and build lasting bonds with our chosen families. During socially distanced times, the perfect dinner party might have felt like a lost art, but in For the Table, up-and-coming food writer Anna Stockwell provides all the tools needed for bringing back the ritual of hosting memorable yet modern dinner parties.
Stockwell has written a cookbook for a new way of entertaining that’s simpler, better, healthier, and more fun. Organized by season and full of helpful hosting advice, Stockwell provides accessible and modern menus; each is built around two large platters to pass around the table and includes suggestions for no-recipe side dishes. Dinner parties don’t have to be formal or fussy, or even a lot of work, to be celebratory and gratifying. This book teaches you how to plan and prepare great-tasting and impressive-looking menus that are easy to pull off, as well as offers expert advice on toasts, prep-ahead strategies, and tips on handling guest lists and dietary restrictions. With its mix of innovative food presentation and old-fashioned, homestyle technique, For the Table is a testament to the art of the dinner party and looks forward to the festive dinner gatherings of the future.
Slow-Roasted Side of Salmon
Serves 8 to 10
1 (3½- to 4-pound/1.6- to 1.8-kg) whole side of salmon or steelhead trout, skin on
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, plus more for serving
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 lemons, cut into wedges, for serving
Flaky sea salt, for serving
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
Place the salmon on a sheet pan and pour the olive oil over it, then turn the salmon to completely coat in the oil. Season both sides with the salt and pepper, landing skin side down on a sheet pan. Roast until the fish is opaque throughout and just able to easily flake when pressed, 20 to 30 minutes. Be careful not to overcook—the time it takes will depend on the thickness of your side of salmon, so start checking after 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. The salmon can sit at room temperature, loosely covered with parchment, for up to 1 hour. If you need to make it in advance, cover it well once cool and chill overnight. Let come to room temperature from the fridge for 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
Here’s the trick to leave the skin behind without actually having to skin the fish: Slide two spatulas between the skin on the sheet pan and the cooked fish, working from opposite sides at the same time, then carefully lift the fish and transfer it to a serving platter. Best to have that serving platter right next to your sheet pan. If the fish breaks while you transfer, don’t sweat it—it’s going to get flaked into pieces as people serve themselves anyway. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with flaky salt, then serve with the lemon wedges alongside.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Abrams Books.