To truly celebrate the little golden man in style, your Oscar party tapas spread shouldn’t be just cheese and crackers. Fun, finger-size foods will complement the festive atmosphere and make it easy for guests to graze while not missing an award. Here are some bevvies and bites to make the night a great one:
The Golden Trophy
Three parts Champagne or sparkling wine
One part freshly squeezed tangerine juice—citrus is in season, so we recommend squeezing your own
Dash of Chambor
Pour champagne into frozen champagne glasses, top with juice. Add a dash of Chambord and serve.
The Burgundy Virgin
Two parts cranberry juice
One part sparkling water
Slice of lime
Pour cranberry juice in tumbler filled with ice. Top off with sparkling water, stir, and garnish with lime. (Not a virgin? Throw in a shot of vodka!)
Also on hand: A few bottles of chilled Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc; a few bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot; and easy drinking beers in honor of the Best Picture Nominees.
Eats (all recipes are courtesy of Lindsay Pendleton)
Potato Latkes with Caviar and Crème fraîche
3 pounds large potatoes (such as Yukon Gold)
One large yellow onion
One tub Crème fraîche
~2 ounces caviar of choice
Grate potatoes and onion with course side of a box grater. Strain out excess water from both and mix together. Stir in eggs, making sure mixture is well coated. Preheat vegetable oil in shallow pan and form potato mixture into small cakes. Fry cakes in oil for about three minutes per side, or until golden brown. Place on paper towel to drain.
Stir zest of one lemon into Crème fraîche. After the potato cakes have dried, dollop with a scoop of Crème fraîche and a sprinkling of caviar.
Enough Mascarpone, Serrano Ham and Figs to feed your guests
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Slice fig in half and place a small amount of mascarpone cheese on each half. Wrap fig cheese mixture with a slice of ham; place loose end down on a baking sheet. Continue until all figs are wrapped. Bake at 350 for about ten minutes, or until ham is browned and crispy.
Arugula Salad with Pears, Candied Pecans, and Red Onion
4–5 cups Arugula
One large Bosch pear
1/2 cup pecans
2–3 tablespoons brown sugar
One small red onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Place Arugula in large bowl, chop pear and red onion, and toss in. Place pecan halves and a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and a tablespoon of water in small saucepan. Place on medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted and nuts are coated. Cool and place in salad mixture.
Whisk together balsamic and olive oil, seasoning with salt, pepper and brown sugar to taste. Toss and serve.
White Bean Puree with Crostini
1/2 pound dried small white beans such as navy or pea
One bay leaf
One thyme sprig
Three garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil, plus few tablespoons extra
Dash of cream
Soak beans in water for about eight hours. Drain water and simmer in fresh water with bay leaf, thyme sprig, two to three cloves of garlic, and salt for about one to one and a half hours.
Blend well in food processor or blender. Slowly add in ample amount of olive oil (1/4 cup) and dash of cream. Add salt and lemon to taste.
To make crostini: Slice baguette into 1/4 inch slices. Brush both sides with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and put into 350 preheated oven, cooking until nicely browned.
Top crostini with white bean puree and serve.
Bocarones with Crostini and Aioli
Bocarones are vinegar or oil cured anchovies and are simply delicious.
Bocarones (can be found at most fine food/specialty stores)
Two cloves garlic
Dash sea salt
One egg yolk
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
To make the aioli: Mince two large garlic cloves and mash into a paste with sea salt. Mix in one large egg yolk and 3 teaspoons of Dijon mustard. Whisk in 2–3 tablespoons of olive oil. Let it sit for ~ three hours. Add a little lemon zest right before serving.
Assemble bites by spreading a thin layer of aioli on crostini and topping with an anchovy.
Also on hand: bowls of gourmet olives, seasoned nuts, and an assorted cheese and fruit plate.
Cinnamon Chocolate Cigarettes (adapted from Gourmet Cookbook, March 2002).
Three egg whites
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together all the ingredients except chocolate. Work in batches of four, or, if you’re a novice pastry chef, two. Drop one level teaspoon of batter for each cookie onto a nonstick baking sheet or buttered baking sheet, then spread the dollop of batter into a 3-inch round with the back of spoon.
Bake cookies until edges are brown, about six to eight minutes.
Now it’s time to be quick: lift one cookie off sheet with a spatula, and then roll it around a pencil or chopstick to form your cigarette. Immediately slide it off and transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat until you’ve used all the batter. (If rolling gets difficult, you can put the cookies back in oven to soften.)
Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of hot water. When cookies are cooled, dip top of cookie into melted chocolate and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set.
Cookies can be made up to two days in advance. A perfect accompaniment—vanilla bean ice cream.
This is warm, rich alcoholic beverage is a great way cap the Oscar evening.
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
3 cups milk
1/4 cup (or to taste) Crème de Menthe
Mix first four ingredients in large saucepan over low heat until chocolate mixture is a thick uniform paste. Add in milk, stirring until well blended. Stir in crème de menthe and serve in mugs. Top with whipped cream if desired.
For related articles read Oscar on the Rocks.