Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.
I'd definitely serve something you can make ahead so you can spend time with your guests. How about stew or a baked pasta, and a kale salad on the side? And maybe chocolate mousse or something lemony for dessert?
People will have lots of ideas if you can come up with more details. What style of party do you want - an elegant French dinner with oysters and champagne, a buffet with enough fancy cocktails that no one notices the food, a make-your-own taco casual meal where everyone sits on the couch and watches old movies?
Somewhat fancy, heavy on the cocktails and apps. Could do buffet or family style- only six of us. I want it to be festive and fun, but not too adventurous, unfortunately one of my friends' husbands has a tame palate. I was thinking salmon en papilotte, but not sure which flavor profile to go with...
I hosted a holiday party for 16 last weekend and made a fabulous bacon-wrapped pork loin cooked on a bed of potatoes and onions. Take smallish potatoes, halve them, and put them on a rimmed baking sheet cut side down. Place a pork loin roast on top, dust with a little salt and pepper, and drape with bacon. I made a cherry madeira sauce (diced onions and dried cherries simmered in madeira and water until the cherries were plump and the onions red from the cherries) which was fantastic with the pork. I cooked the meat at 400 for an hour and a half and the potatoes were FANTASTIC.
You could add smashed peas with pecorino and pepper and sweet potatoes anna (recipe from this site) like I was planning to, but you don't have to. The ingredients are all fairly cheap, it's easy to execute, is finished all at once, and leaves you time to socialize while the pork cooks.
It's my new go-to recipe to cook for a big group.
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
New Year would be incomplete without oysters, caviar and foie gras (if you live in a civilized place that's not California at the moment).
While I was raised a Yankee, I have lived in the South too long. You must have pork, black eyed peas and cabbage for the New Year!
I think some version of surf and/or turf would be nice - filet mignon or a beef tenderloin roast, and lobster, lobster tails, or jumbo shrimp (stuffed, scampi, etc.) Some nice rice pilaf or roasted potatoes, vegetables and salad sides to your taste. (and or starters I would serve something with smoked salmon - a spread made with gravlax, choppped smoked salmon, sour cream and dill, or just smoke salmon, avocado and lemon on crackers).
I love NYE. I always start with some nice cheeses and pâté. A fried oyster salad with Parmesan crisps and a mustard vinaigrette. Fois gras with a balsamic cherry reduction. I'm torn for the next course, either osso bucco with risotto or petit filets with bleu smashed potatoes. I finish simply with chocolate covered fruits.
Start with some fresh oysters (small kushi) with some warm bechamel sauce covering half the oyster.
Sit down to some foie gras with cumberland sauce or go wild with some bacon seville marmalade, sprigs of bean sprout.
Main appetizer of 16-24 count prawns with classic sauce on shredded iceberg lettuce (the 50's were good!)
Fish Main would be a trout or dover sole in butter sauce.
Meat Main would be lamb chops (half rack per person is enough)
Spinach salad with sugar pecans and dried cranberry and stilton cheese pieces. Vinagarette of our choice.
Dessert of fresh warm made tableside sabayon with pomogranate seeds and ?? (whatever you like)
Pillow and blanket.
After saying all that, I admit we are at our beach cottage and will having beluga on bilini's, champagne, and duck breast in a Corfu kumquat sauce. Chocolate something and sea salt for dessert.
Simple condo equals simple dinner.
We are having easy, simple food that is also a big treat---oysters, welsh rarebit, green and citrus salad, and tiramisu (with rum).
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