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Oysters and New Year's Eve Menus

withabandon Oct 17, 2009 05:53 PM

I'm planning a very small late supper party for New Year's eve for two or three couples. I'm thinking of starting with a first course of oysters on the half shell, paired with Prosecco.

Anything I can think of to serve as second course after the oysters sounds boring to me.

Also usually I have something set out when guests first arrive-- but anything I can think of to serve before the oysters sounds overpowering to me.

I think I simply have no idea of what to bookend the oysters with.

Please help!

  1. s
    silverhawk Oct 28, 2009 12:39 PM

    you're getting ideas from some pretty sophisticated posters. it does seem to me though that osso bucco might not be optimal. it is one of my favorite foods but it'll really throw its weight around in the menu. i notice that you started the thread by looking for things to partner with oysters. i don't think they'd retain the imagined prominence if they were a prelude to a killer osso bucco. i'm sure the match would be fine but the emphasis would shift to the veal.

    crab cakes? lobster, shrimp or crab bisque? a mussel-based soup like billi b? new years does provide a tradition-based excuse for a parade of seafood--an excuse we use annually.

    1. p
      Procrastibaker Oct 28, 2009 12:01 PM

      This all sounds great. One thing I like to do with caviar-- and I don't think it's mentioned here-- is put it on top of blinis and creme fraiche. An alternative to the potatoes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Procrastibaker
        h
        hazelhurst Oct 28, 2009 12:20 PM

        Good luck if you want to try this one from the late Chas Baker, which he calle artichokes Tsarina..Artichoke heart with a filling if you wish, poached egg on top..slice the yolk and fill with caviar.

      2. h
        hazelhurst Oct 28, 2009 11:58 AM

        I'd bridge the oysters to osso bucco with carpaccio. Stays raw but moves you to the meat world.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hazelhurst
          withabandon Oct 29, 2009 07:58 PM

          We went from oysters to carpaccio to pork belly to rack of lamb at our last dinner with these same friends ( prepared impeccably by their professional chef-- and paired by them with amazing wine. So I'm fine with " borrowing" the oysters as a starter-- I though of lobster as another poster suggested, but the S.O. has more than hinted about wanting osso bucco, He brought me a DVD of Lidia preparing it, and i finally, after much hunting found a version of her osso bucco recipe on line ( for venison) but I'm going to get veal, like in the video. I don't want to buy a whole cookbook, especially since as my name implies I hardly use them, I'd much rather taste something or see it made and recreate it than deal with a recipe. Hence I hardly ever bake-- too precise for me-- I like the abandon of a little of this a pinch of that, etc., ahh, but i digress. If anyone does have Lidia's veal osso bucco recipe, I'd love to have it. I think she used orange juice and some kind of unidentified stock. The rest of the ingredients seem to be the same as she uses with venison ( with which she uses carrot juice). That artichoke Tsarina sounds like it would be fabulous for brunch. As for shifting the emphasis from the oysters, i think that is fine. There'll be a transition with a small pasta course. I have to say this is the nicest thread I've participated in and I really appreciate all the wonderful ideas!

        2. chef chicklet Oct 20, 2009 03:00 PM

          One of my favorite holiday meals started with oysters, and then we had a napoleon type of thing, perhaps not a napaleon per se, the puff pastry was cut so it made a little box and it held small succulent shrimp bathed in one of most delicious curry sauces (with cream) I'd ever tasted.. The top was sort of propped on top. It was just so delicious, it took every bit of my will power to keep from licking the plate. Hm..maybe on my menu this Christmas!

          1 Reply
          1. re: chef chicklet
            withabandon Oct 28, 2009 09:36 AM

            The shrimp encroute ( I think that might be what it is) sounds wonderful. I have a soup recipe for curried shrimp and banana-- I haven't made that in years-- this reminded me of-- that is wonderful too. And mille gracie to porker--- I hadn't thought about making the osso bucco ahead of time. What a great idea. I'll do that if I have time-- depends how late I end up working on Wednesday. And the Oyster Royale-- sounds amazing! I just love expanding my horizons and everyone's terrific suggestions and depth of knowledge!

          2. a
            Analisas mom Oct 18, 2009 08:01 AM

            I always find that if I put something out for guest before I do a several course dinner party that people get realy full and then all my hard work for the dinner ends of not being fully enjoyed. So a few years ago I really stopped worrying about pre-dinner appetizers and now I simply just put out a couple of kinds of really high quality nuts like a smoked almond and a spicy pecan. It works great and I think that would take you right into your oyster starter really well. I really like the idea of doing sort of a breakfast theme bruch kind of menu. How about poached eggs with crab or lobster , grilled aspargus and hollandaise sauce. Or if you don't want to do shellfish do nice grilled filet sliced with the eggs. You could finish with fruit and cheese for dessert.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Analisas mom
              hotoynoodle Oct 18, 2009 09:51 AM

              i'm always uncomfortable when there is basically no food, and people are drinking while waiting for the group to be complete. especially on a night like new years. but i appreciate what you mean by people filling up. limiting starchy stuff helps there.

              1. re: hotoynoodle
                withabandon Oct 18, 2009 03:38 PM

                All the suggestions are wonderful! Though I must admit, I had to google gourgeres and grissini.

                There are going to be one or two other couples only. This year it's very intimate. Thanks for the benefit of the doubt. Yes, "she does know her guests"-- in fact the couple I know for sure so far is coming, are very knowledgeable about wine and introduced us to Prosecco at a wine pairing dinner a chef recently prepared at their home. The prosecco accompanied, yes, raw oysters. My S.O. had been saying that he didn't like oysters, but he decided to be adventurous and he liked them and I was delighted that he did because I adore oysters.

                I thought of filet mignon, but that seemed so expected a pairing. (delicious of course!). So something different, and not breakfast. Just last night my S.O started lobbying for me to make osso bucco sometime. I began to wonder if that would follow the oysters well. To be clear, the guests are invited at 8 pm. They are all punctual people, so there won't be a lot of waiting for the group to be complete. They won't have had dinner, so I do want to serve them something upon arrival. I generally avoid people getting too filled up by spacing the courses. Starting in the living room with wine and some pre-dinner appetizers. I'm not planning to serve dinner until 9:30-- first the oysters-- and probably only three or four depending on type and size. I'm going to serve the prosecco with only the oysters.

                I'll serve another wine with the pre-dinner appetizers-- unless I go with cavier-- I like the idea of topping new potatoes with caviar. The various tapenande suggestions are appealing. The more I think about it, I could actually move the oysters to the pre-dinner in the living room appetizers and do the potatoes with cavier, the veggie tapenades, add a bit of smoked white fish and some pencil style breadsticks.

                Okay, so the pre-dinner segment is done!

                Then I could serve a small pasta dish-- I like the lemon and basil suggestion a lot-- with a different wine. So first course at table ( yes, I'm pretty formal about dinner parties) established. Except of course for the wine pairing.

                Now back to the second course at the table.

                How about, if the chowhounds approve, osso bucco. I would divide each shank into two after it's cooked to keep the portions small-- and I think carrots and maybe some mushrooms, would go well with the osso bucco-- that is if you all think that would work. And if so, a more tomato based sauce or a more tomato paste based sauce ( the first is more red, the latter is more brown-- or so my SO. tells me Lydia says-- as he handed me a DVD he made of her demonstrating how to make OB. if we do this, a big red wine.

                Will this work. If not, how to make it work-- the seque course makes serving almost anything possible I think. I guess that is now my question. What seque course follows the oysters etc well and allows for the osso bucco to come next?

                Then lattes. Chocolate cake. And fresh fruit. And Champagne at midnight.

                1. re: withabandon
                  hotoynoodle Oct 19, 2009 10:13 AM

                  8:00 isn't crazy late -- prime time on a saturday in a restaurant, right? i was wondering if you meant more like 10:00

                  90 minutes of cocktailing is a long time before your friends get something substantial into themselves, don't you think? i'd consider reducing that to 60 minutes, and yes, doing the oysters during.

                  with the pasta, you could do a sancerre, which would be bright, a nice follow to the prosecco and more citrusy than an sb from nz.

                  if not pasta, a soup would work here as a first course, but not cream-based. a chestnut soup, or a squash/apple soup, perhaps.

                  i think osso bucco would be smashing and yes to the carrots and mushrooms. perhaps add a side of some garlicky greens for color and texture. i'd go with the more "red" sauce too, lol. for wine either a big rhone, like a gigondas, or a hearty italian red like barolo.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                    withabandon Oct 20, 2009 02:48 PM

                    Those are all wonderful suggestions. Thank you so much!!

                    I think the oysters definitely get moved to the pre-dinner appetizers. with the other things that were suggested--

                    dinner at 9:30 two courses-- primi: pasta with lemon and basil and marscapone, secondi: osso bucco with " red" sauce, carrots, mushrooms and garlicky greens (escarole if I can get it!)

                  2. re: withabandon
                    porker Oct 20, 2009 06:23 PM

                    If you're going to have caviar, you can have the option letting guests top an oyster with it.
                    It was toted as "Oyster Royale" when I first tried this, nice.

                    If not an osso bucco, a braised short rib would be similar and elegant as well. Either way, I'd suggest doing this at least a day in advance and just re-heat during your festivities.

                2. re: Analisas mom
                  JEN10 Oct 18, 2009 12:40 PM

                  Ana, that sounds like a really nice menu!!!

                3. s
                  Sharuf Oct 18, 2009 04:55 AM

                  Oysters on the half shell? You mean, like RAW? Better check with the guests first -- or don't be surprised if you get some "not for me, thanks" responses.

                  Oyster stew sounds good. Oysters Rockefeller sounds really nice. But even cooked, some folks may just not eat them in any form.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sharuf
                    hotoynoodle Oct 18, 2009 06:29 AM

                    let's give the op the benefit of the doubt that he or she knows their guests well enough to know they're not freaked out by raw bivalves?

                    how about gougeres or grissini wrapped with prosciutto, some marinated olives, spiced nuts and a smoked whitefish pate with dark bread, or tiny new potatoes, twice baked and topped with a dab of sour cream and caviar. all simple and won't combat the prosecco.

                    by late supper, i don't know how big of a meal you are preparing. will this be close to midnight? will folks already have had dinner? is it relatively formal? how many courses?

                    you could do a very small segue course of angel hair with TONS of lemon and fresh basil, topped with a bit of creme fraiche or mascarpone.

                    then petite filet mignon topped with gorgonzola and served with garlicky spinach.

                    or small sandwiches of roast beef, caramelized onions and horseradish cream.

                    i'd make the portions SMALL since it will be very late.

                    or you could do breakfast for dinner, like creamy scrambled eggs with caviar and chives, orange brioche toast, roasted potatoes (if you don't do any spuds to start) and ham.

                    dessert?

                  2. todao Oct 17, 2009 08:58 PM

                    Just an idea, but would a crostini with artichoke tapenade and sun dried tomatoes work for you? In think both of those ingredients would compliment your first course on either end.
                    Now your next challenge is a wine pairing. A sparkling wine works well with the oysters but I'd hesitate to apply it to the artichoke idea. Sauvignon Blanc might work OK with both. I'd have to do a taste test to be certain.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: todao
                      hotoynoodle Oct 18, 2009 06:41 AM

                      the prosecco would be fine with artichokes. bubbles work with about everything, but the sb might taste metallic or offensively herbaceous, especially one from nz.

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