While browsing the web the other day, I came across a fantastic menu plan for an Oscar viewing party. With crab cakes, rack of lamb, smoked salmon, and a croquembouche, it's definitely a decadent list, but why not go all out for the most glamourous night of the year?
Endive Spears with Sweet Potato and Bacon (adapted from a Fine Cooking recipe)
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
3 slices of bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives
2 medium heads Belgian endive
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1. Cook the bacon in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until it has rendered some of its fat, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the sweet potato and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the sweet potato is tender and the bacon starts to crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbs. of the chives and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Let cool for a couple of minutes.
3. Slice the bottom 1/2 inch off the endives so some of the outer leaves break free. Cut another 1/2 inch off and break some more leaves free. Keep going until all the larger leaves are free. (you have about 20.) If you like, trim the leaves so they're all the same length.
4. Set the endive leaves on a large platter. Spoon the sweet potato mixture near the base of the leaves. Top each with a dollop of the cream fraiche and then sprinkle with the remaining chives. Serve immediately or let sit for up to 20 minutes before serving.
Chive Tartines With Smoked Salmon (adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe)
Ingredients (makes 20)
1 cup 1-inch pieces of fresh chives
3.4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons crumbled soft fresh goat cheese
2 tablespoons minced shallot
20 3/4-inch-thick diagonal slices French-bread baguette
6 ounces thinly slice smoked salmon
Additional chopped fresh chives
1. Puree 1 cup chives and oil in blender 2 minutes. Pour into fine sieve set over medium bowl. Let drain 1 hour (do not press on solids). Discard solids.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
3. Mix goat cheese and shallot in small bowl; season to taste with pepper.
4. Place bread slices on large baking sheet. Brush both sides of bread lightly with chive oil. Spread each slice with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese mixture.
5. Bake bread until light golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to platter. Drape 1 salmon slice over each. Sprinkle with additional chopped chives.
Crab Cakes (adapted from a Food & Wine recipe)
Ingredients (Serves 6)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
Fine sea salt
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
1 cup finely crushed saltine crackers (3 1/2 ounces)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and 1/4 cup of the grapeseed oil. Add the lemon juice and season with cayenne. Transfer 1.2 cup of the mayonnaise to a small bowl and reserve.
2. Using the flat side of a chef's knife, mash the garlic to a paste with a generous pinch of salt. Whisk the garlic paste into the medium bowl of mayonnaise, then transfer the aioli to a serving bowl.
3. In a large bowl, gently mix the crabmeat with the cracker crumbs, egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and the reserved 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. Shape the mixture into six 1-inch-thick crab cakes and transfer to a wax paper-lined plate. Or shape into smaller mini cakes. Refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 400. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderate heat until golden on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the crab cakes, then transfer them to the oven and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
5. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with the garlic aioli.
Lamb Chops With Mint-Pistachio Pesto (adapted from William-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers)
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup shelled, salted, and roasted pistachio nuts
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
12 small lamb rib chops, Frenched
1. In a food processor or blender, combine the mint, parsley, pistachio nuts, garlic, and 1/2 cup olive oil and process until blended but still retains some texture.
2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the grated cheese. You should have about 3/4 cup pesto.
3. Preheat the broiler.
4. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange the lamb chops in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
5. Broil until well-browned on both sides slipping once, about 3 minutes per side or until both sides are done to your liking.
6. To serve, arrange the lamb chops on a warmed platter or divide them among warmed serving plates (2 chops per serving). Top each with a dollop of pesto. Pass the remaining pesto with the platter or at the table, or reserve for another use. Serve right away.
Informal Croquembouche (adapted from a Gourmet recipe)
For this one, you can get the recipe from this link. It was way too long and with too many steps!
* all images and recipes via Yumsugar