These Are the Three Recipes That Will Star on Martha's Holiday Menu This Year
Growing up in Nutley, New Jersey, we enjoyed very traditional holiday menus year after year. As an adult, living in Westport, Connecticut, my family loved our Christmas Eve dinner of baby rack of lamb, scalloped potatoes, butter-lettuce salad, and croquembouche. Nowadays, diets have become much more varied. My daughter and her children are pescatarians, some of my friends are vegans, and others still crave a perfectly cooked standing rib roast.
Mixed Chicories with Vinaigrette
I want to share some of the dishes I prepare most frequently for our family holiday dinners now. Salads are always popular, especially when made with pretty leafy greens, or bitter chicories like endives and radicchio, and dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette.
Angel-Hair Pasta with Black Truffles
A black-truffle angel-hair pasta takes only a few minutes to put together and, I promise, will garner exclamations of joy from your guests. I first had the combination at Babbo, in New York City, where the chef generously topped a heaping bowl of delicate pasta with buttery spoonfuls of finely chopped winter black truffles from France. His tip: Do not forget a sprinkling of sea salt right before eating. My advice is to buy one beautiful, fresh black truffle from a reputable source (I like Urbani Truffles) and slice it very thinly on a mandoline or truffle shaver. Then chop it finely and warm it in melted butter right before serving.
Baked Potatoes with Créme Fraiche and Caviar
Another very simple but ultra-delicious idea is baked potatoes topped with caviar and sour cream. Use the best quality, tastiest caviar you can find. Large Yukon Golds, roasted in a 350-degree oven until fork-tender, are fabulously buttery and colorful. Try to time the roasting so they're done right before you want to serve them. A great secret I learned from a Maine potato farmer is to smash each one on the kitchen counter right out of the oven. This breaks up the fibers and creates a fluffy bed for crème fraîche or sour cream and a dollop of cold caviar. They make a wonderful starter or light main.
These meat-free dishes are alternatives to roast lamb, beef, duck, or even goose, and are just as satisfying and delightful. Whatever you serve, I hope you can share it with your loved ones, and I wish you all a very happy holiday.
Here are a few kinds of roe Martha likes. Store unopened tins in the refrigerator until just before serving on ice, and use a non-metallic spoon, like mother-of-pearl, which won't alter the flavor.
Roe Caviar: Farm-raised in Northern California, this small black variety of caviar from white sturgeon tastes buttery and nutty, with a light burst of saltiness. (from $110, roecaviar.com)
Russ & Daughters: The century-old shop offers a wide variety, including wild-harvested Alaskan salmon roe, which is more affordable than sturgeon. The big orange pearls givea pleasant, briny pop with each bite. (from $30, russanddaughters.com)
Black River Caviar: Based in Uruguay, this company is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, producing roe from sustainably harvested, farm-raised Russian osetra sturgeon. (from $92, blackrivercaviar.com)
Petrossian: Since 1920, this boutique has been offering an extensive catalog of top-quality caviars. (from $63, petrossian.com)
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