This midsummer party recreates the kind of simple, seaside al fresco dinner you find on Italy's Amalfi coast.
The fresh salt air inspired us to ask Tammy Tan, owner of the San Francisco-based epicurean boutique Spice Hound (spicehound.com) and an expert on gourmet seasonings, to design recipes with a taste of sea breezes. Tan's menu introduces a new way of cooking using thick slabs of rosy Himalayan salt to grill perfectly brined scallops. To complement the marine-themed cuisine, our stylists set a gorgeous table using our bright dishware in a range of Mediterranean blues. Let the Pottery Barn team help you create a meal that transports you to the café terrace of a coastal village right in your home.
The right decor can put guests in a maritime mood, even if you live in the heart of the city. Our stylist chose a runner woven of fishing net to give a seaside spin to a rustic dining table. Turquoise-hued dishes salad plates with elaborate mosaic tile motifs, make the primary color statement. Light-catching accents like shimmery fish plates, glinting napkin rings and faux-stained-glass bottle stoppers make the table sparkle. For a special finishing touch, download our free "SALT" name cards and tuck them into our turtle salt cellars to personalize each place setting.
In Tammy Tan's recipes, salt goes from humble condiment to the focal point of the meal. To reinforce the theme, include spice jars and cellars filled with specialty salts for tasting purposes as you educate and delight your guests.
The real star of the dinner party though is sure to be the beautifully marbled pink salt block, which functions as a centerpiece but serves a practical purpose too: here, it's used to sear scallops. Think of the weighty slab as the latest culinary tool—with an ancient and romantic heritage. It's typically hand cut by masons into blocks, rounds, and platters from a quarried boulder of pure Himalayan salt. You can heat it for cooking, chill it for serving, or for decorative purposes, illuminate it with votive candles to cast blushing, translucent glow.
Here are a few pointers to help prepare your salt block prior to cooking. To avoid fissures, place the block in oven, raising temperature slowly, until it reaches the sauté temperature of about 500 degrees. Use oven mitts to place the hot block on a heat-resistant trivet or stovetop for cooking. It will stay hot for a long time, and food cooked on it will develop a subtle saltiness. To clean it, wash it with warm water and a soft brush, wipe it with a paper towel, and set it on a drying rack. Be sure to store it in a dry place to avoid sweating. With proper care, it will last for years.
Relaxed, summertime entertaining is the perfect occasion to choose table décor with wit and whimsy.
Our Cambria and Amalfi Dinnerware layer beautifully with white. Fish Bowls and Plates are cast in aluminum for long-lasting coastal charm. The silver-plated Turtle Salt Cellar's shell lifts up, and its tail is a spoon. Carved Rope Wood Chargers add an elegantly nautical spin.
Crafted from recycled Mexican soda bottles, our weighty Recycled Ribbon Glassware, punctuated with cobalt blue stripes, is quintessential essential for summer.
Our Fisherman's Net Open-Weave Runner conjures images of ocean waves and bounty. The Woven Canoe Cooler, made of hand-woven aurog, keeps multiple bottles of wine, soda, or water at arm's reach and has a removable galvanized insert. The Paddle Pedestals, hand-hewn in mango wood, showcase salt blocks beautifully.
Like jewelry for the table, our Coral Beaded Napkin Rings and enamel inlay Scales Napkin Rings recall the glittering ocean, as do the glossy glass petals of our Turquoise Flower Wine Stoppers.