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Mar 17, 2008 07:21 AM

fancy dinner party - help with entree

hi everyone-

i'm planning a (hopefully) fancy dinner party for 8 people who don't eat beef or lamb.

i have frequently made a roasted pork tenderloin for this group, so i am hoping for something different

sides will probably be potato something and green something.

any input?


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  1. Goose, duck, pheasant, a whole fish, salt crusted fish, shellfish (paella)...


    1. organic baby back ribs are fantastic braised in a little white wine, garlic and rosemary. And they take the edge off of a fancy party. You could also ask your butcher to French chicken breasts for you and then marinate them in olive oil, lemon zest (wide pieces with no pith) fresh thyme, parsley, dijon and heads of garlic cut in half for for to six hours. Sear them off in the pan until they are chestnut colored. Remove and roast at 400 until just cooked through. Remove the bottom bones and the wish bone. Clean the meat from the wing (the wing tip will have been removed.) Slice on the diagonal and serve with a chicken stock that you have made yourself, then strained through a fine sieve, then continued to reduce until it is a sauce. (add salt once you strain the stock, but be sure to go easy, as it will continue to reduce quite a bit.)
      I love this with roasted tomatoes, wilted baby spinach and smashed yukon golds.
      You could also do a seared whole chicken or chicken breasts, and once they are seard, stuffed with mascarpone that has a little lemon zest, smashed garlic and fresh basil or rosemary with broccoli rabe or string beans with garlic. An elegant little salad to serve after is endive, radicchio, flat leaf parsely, thinly sliced fennel, a little shallot and a few arugula leaves, dressed just with your best olive oil, salt and a squeeze of lemon. A cheese course from your favorite cheese monger immediately makes a meal a feast.

      1. A capon is exceptionally juicy roasted and comes up to about 9 lb., which is size you would need. I would roast it simply with an orange or lemon citrus glaze. You can stuff it with cornbread stuffing, make potato gratin and roasted asparagus or creamed spinach. In Central Ohio, we don't get fresh capons, they are frozen and run about $2.00-$2.50/lb. They are ordered from the butcher. A capon is a rooster that has been, ahem, clipped. Not sure if they use special feed, but it is very juicy and a big holiday treat for our family. If you want more detailed recipes, let me know.

        1. how about roast cornish hen? I think they look impressive. Since it is still chilly, coq au vin is great and can me made well ahead of time and only improves as it sits.

          1. Roasted filet of halibut. A six pound piece of fish looks beautiful presented on a platter. Perhaps a lemon butter sauce, Hollandaise, bearnaise or just a compound butter to serve with the fish. You could par cook some potatoes and then finish them by roasting in the oven at the same time as the fish. Could do the same thing w/ broccoli. Easy, beautiful, tasty.

            5 Replies
            1. re: gourmanda

              do you have a recipe for a roasted six pound piece of halibut? Olive oil, salt + pepper and high heat? I make a tomato tarragon compote I often serve with grilled, halibut + swordfish and thought that might be an easier way for a group.

              1. re: holleygolitely

                If I remember correctly from this summer, I rubbed it with olive oil, rosemary, s&p (you can do this early in the day and keep it refrigerated). Then it was 450 degrees for about 25 minutes. Your tomato tarragon compote sounds lovely.

                1. re: gourmanda

                  thanks for this--I will try it! BTW, compote is shallots, chopped tomatoes, olive oil or butter, s+p, cooked till soft in a sautee then add tarragon at the end.

                  1. re: holleygolitely

                    when I make compound butter, I boil the chopped shallots in wine (generally red, but I make it for salmon) until wine is almost gone, then mix into butter, and add S&P & herbs. Roll into log in wax paper and chill. You can freeze also, but I usually forget.
                    I like burgundy rosemary compound butter w/ salmon. Yum.

                    1. re: holleygolitely

                      Whoops! I re-read the recipe last night and it said 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees for a 3-pound filet, 1 1/4-1 1/2 inches thick. Serves 6 (or in my house, probably 4).

                      Thanks for the compote idea. I like that and the butter mentioned by NYChow!