A New Year's Eve Dinner


Keep it simple, but make it elegant!

By FamilyTime

 

This year, plan a simple New Year's Eve dinner for a few close friends. This way, you'll avoid the crowds, bypass the headaches about babysitters, save some money, and still welcome 2018 in high style.

The trick is to plan an easy meal with sophisticated touches, such as caviar, smoked salmon, and quality Champagne. Strike a balance between dishes you can make ahead of time and those that require stress-free last-minute attention -- and between some that are luxury splurges and those that are not.

Here is our menu. Elegant yet easy. 

Smoked Salmon Mousse 

Bruschetta Duet

Fettuccine with Veal, Peas, and Mint

Fennel and Red Onion Salad with Parmesan

Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream

Note: All recipes except the mousse serve four. The recipes are easily doubled. The mousse will have to be cut in half or even by four depending on the number of guests (and how much leftover mousse you would like to have!),

For Starters
The salmon mousse we suggest must be made well in advance. To serve it, set the mousse on a tray still in the mold or unmolded and let your guests help themselves. Either way, garnish it with capers, lemon wedges, and a few spoonfuls of caviar.

Make the bruschetta toppings ahead of time and then heat the bruschetta later. The toasts can be served warm or room temperature, which means you can assemble and heat them an hour or so before your guests arrive.

The Main Course
The fettuccine and veal dish is a one-dish main course with serious style. Veal is a tender, luxurious meat that blends beautifully with cream and tiny green peas. Toss it with al dente pasta - cooked just until it's tender but not too soft.

For the best flavor, cook fresh fettuccine, which takes only minutes. Buy it in a specialty market or a gourmet take-out shop. If you feel particularly ambitious, make your own.

The veal is complemented with a colorful salad made with fennel and red onions. Dressed with a sprightly citrus dressing, this provides just the right zing for the creamy veal and fettuccine.

If you've never before served raw fennel, please try it. It tastes slightly and oh-so-pleasantly of licorice. When you buy it, you might think you're buying a large head of squashed celery but don't be dissuaded. It's a treat.

The Finish
The espresso granita can be made well ahead of time. During the first 40 minutes of freezing time you must attend to it so that it freezes in shards and not as a solid block. Once this is accomplished, it can sit in the freezer for a few days.

Whip the cream just before serving. This takes only minutes; let your guests linger at the table while you assemble the individual servings. Use any pretty dessert bowls you have, although stemmed ones are the best choice. Don't have any? Try large wine glasses.

The Extras
This may be the only time of the year that you use the best china and polish Grandma's silver candlesticks. Don't forget to buy fresh tapers for those candlesticks and fresh flowers for a centerpiece. Have fun setting a pretty table.

Champagne is expected on New Year's Eve, the night when we bid farewell to the past year and welcome the new one. Buy the best you can afford and try to serve it in fluted glasses.

Don't neglect those guests who might prefer sparkling water or juice instead.

Pace the evening so that by the time the clock strikes midnight, everyone is well fed and feeling in fine form to greet 2013.

Celebrate! Happy New Year!