Throw a Star-Studded Oscar Party

Throw a Star-Studded Oscar Party

Earning a Michelin star is among the highest accolades a restaurant can achieve, and for diners who only consider these food havens a special-occasion destination, things are about to change. Just in time for the 84th annual Academy Awards, airing on ABC this Sunday, you can whip up celebrity-worthy dishes at home for guests of your Oscar-viewing party.

This appetizer and light entrée, featured on the bar menus of Michelin-rated restaurants Marc Forgione and étoile are simpler versions of the fancy fare found in the main dining rooms. These delicious recipes are easy to prepare in your kitchen and will impress your guests.

Duck in a Jar with Smoked Salt and Pierre Poivre

Courtesy Marc Forgione, executive chef, Restaurant Marc Forgione, New York City.

Located in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, Iron Chef Marc Forgione injects international flair into the seasonal menu of his Michelin-starred restaurant. Set in a loft-like space filled with rough-hewn wood, exposed brick and candlelight, diners seated at the bar can order dishes like BBQ Baked Olde Salt Oysters, Suckling Pig Sliders au Jus or Duck in a Jar.

For the duck:
2 cups Port wine
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
1½ pounds duck liver, tough membranes discarded
½ cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons Cognac
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1¾ cup (12 ounces) duck fat, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 ounces foie gras terrine
2 teaspoons ground allspice
¾ cup heavy cream
Extra virgin olive oil, to top jars
Smoked sea salt (available at La Boîte Biscuits & Spices, to taste
Pierre Poivre spice blend (available at La Boîte Biscuits & Spices, to taste
Fresh thyme, to taste
Pickles or gherkins, to garnish
2 loaves peasant bread, sliced and toasted

To prepare:
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, bring the Port to a boil. Reduce it to ⅓ cup and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet set over a medium flame, heat 1½ tablespoons of vegetable oil. Season the duck liver with salt and pepper to taste and place it in the skillet. Cook the liver until well browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Strain the pan drippings into a bowl and set aside. Add 1½ tablespoons of oil to the skillet, then add the remaining shallots and cook over medium-low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the Cognac and ignite it with a long-handled match, allowing skillet to flame up. Turn off the heat.

Pour the pan’s contents into a food processor. Add the reserved pan drippings, white wine vinegar, the reduced Port and the duck fat to the processor. Process until smooth.  Add the foie gras, allspice and cream, and process until blended, about 30 seconds, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Force the mousse through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Scrape an equal amount of the mousse into ½-pint Mason jars and let cool in the refrigerator, loosely covered. Top each jar with enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the mousse, then top with the smoked sea salt, pierre poivre and fresh-picked thyme. Serve with peasant bread and your favorite pickles. Makes 4 (½-pint) Mason jars.

Wine Recommendation: The invigorating flavors of Domaine Carneros’s 2005 La Rêve Blanc de Blanc (95 points, $90) has just the right balance of fresh fruit flavor and acidity to cut through the richness of this dish. La rêve is French for “the dream,” and isn’t winning an Academy Award every celebrity’s dream?

Cambozola and Smoked Mushroom Panini 

Courtesy Perry Hoffman, executive chef, étoile, Napa Valley, California

Located in Yountville, this restaurant is set in the beautiful Domaine Chandon winery. The daytime-only Tasting Lounge is perfect for a glass of wine and a small plate before or after a winery tour. Under the direction of Executive Chef Perry Hoffman, dishes here include Pan Seared Foie Gras, Smoked Chicken Caesar Salad and this delicious Cambozola and Smoked Mushroom Panini.

For the brine:
4 cups of water
Salt, to taste
⅓ cup sugar
1 bay leaf
10 peppercorns
4 sprigs of thyme

For the mushrooms:
4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 red onion, sliced thinly
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 ciabatta rolls
2 tablespoons butter, melted (for brushing bread prior to pressing the sandwich in the panini)
4 slices of Cambozola cheese (6 inches long and ¼ inch thick)
½ cup Niçoise olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup arugula, divided

Equipment needed: Stovetop smoker, 2 cups of culinary-grade woodchips (presoaked apple wood chips are optimal) for smoking and parchment paper.

To make the brine: Combine the water with salt, sugar, bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar, then remove from the heat. Cool slightly, then put aside in a large mixing bowl.

To prepare the mushrooms: Preheat the oven to 400º F. Soak the mushrooms in the brine for about 2 hours. In a stovetop smoker, place 2 cups of wood chips and smoke the mushrooms for 8 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from smoker and place on a tray lined with parchment paper; toss the mushrooms with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. In a bowl, toss the red onions with the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper, place on second sheet pan lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Roast mushrooms in the oven for about 10 minutes.

To serve: Preheat a panini grill. Brush butter on each ciabatta roll, then place a slice of Cambozola cheese, a mushroom, and ¼ of the red onions and olives on each roll. Place on panini grill and cook until toasted and the cheese is melted. Remove from grill and place a small handful of arugula into each sandwich, cut in half and serve.
 Makes 4 sandwiches.

Wine Recommendations: In keeping with the Oscar party theme, pair the dish with Domaine Chandon’s NV étoile Rosé (92 points, $50), made mainly with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. With rich raspberry and light spice flavors, this sparkling wine is a good match for the dish’s earthy mushrooms and tangy blue cheese.

Published on February 23, 2012
Topics: Entertaining Guide