You may have seen the sea of humanity on Duval Street on CNN the other night. There was a drag queen lowered in a shoe, among other festivities, and it seemed like the party-goers had a good time. But I had a good time, too, all while never having to get too close to strangers. Although we missed our house guests that normally come from New York for New Years Eve, four friends came over for dinner and we ate and drank and rang in the new year.
I know you want to hear about the food, so here we go:
We started with a caviar tasting. I would like to say that I was very prepared, and researched several different kinds of caviar, but the truth is that
Costco had a gift pack with five different types (Plaza Royal Molossol, Plaza Baerii Molossol, Trout, Whitefish and Bowfin). I served them all with cocktail breads, egg, onion and lemon slices. Our friend had brought the accompanying Champagne (Charles Heidseck Brut Reserve, Taittinger Prestige Rose and Taittinger Brut La Francaise). It was a festive start.
Moving to the table, the first course was a duo of salmon: salmon cakes and smoked salmon mousse. This was followed by a tomato and avocado salad with pesto dressing.
About a year and a half ago we celebrated a friend’s birthday at Osteria Morini in New York City. While there we enjoyed sformato, a custard made with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and topped with mushrooms. My version
was supposed to be topped with a slew of chantrelle and crimini mushrooms. Sadly, I was a little too involved in my first courses and left the mushrooms on the stove a bit too long. I salvaged a few pieces for each custard. The other fun part of this course is that one of our friends is allergic to dairy. All dairy. So, I made him a custard using soy creamer and cheese-free pesto, which turned out surprisingly fantastic.
Knowing that the back-to-diet days were looking ahead, I indulged in a pasta dish. Linguine with roasted tomatoes, spinach and
garlic was not only delicious, but left me with enough leftovers for lunch. Win.
Just as we thought we might not be able to eat anything else, we were up to the last savory course. Oven roasted yellowtal snapper with Romesco sauce. Romesco is made of tomatoes, almonds and stale bread. While it sounds awful, the popular Spanish sauce is rather tasty. (and I have enough left over
to top some other main courses this week.)
For dessert we had a French apple tart, chocolate mousse shots and non-dairy almond ice cream. The ice cream was a failure. Although the flavors were good, there was just no fat in the mixture to create a creamy texture. (I sent thee leftovers home with the dairy free friend.) Overall, it was a great meal with great friends, and the perfect way to ring in the new year.