Last Minute Oscar Cocktail Party

Having an Oscar party has the same drawbacks as having a Super Bowl party–being that if you are actually into what’s going on,  you’ve got a bunch of tipsy people in your house distracting you from being able to watch the play by play. But, seeing as how the vast majority of the Oscars is super-boring, I highly recommend having a party. You can shush everybody when the big moments come. And the rest of the time you can drink champagne and eat fancy appetizers.

Speaking of fancy appetizers, there was this great edition of the “The Minimalist” in the New York Times a couple of years ago that I still think about. It lists 101 simple appetizers that are super-chic and easy–which is exactly what we need. SO, I’m going to steal the handful I think most appropriate for such a glamorous occasion, and post them here.These all require only assembly–no actual cooking!

Red peppers and anchovies: Drizzle piquillos or other roasted red peppers with olive oil, and top with a good anchovy fillet. A caper or two on each is not amiss. On crackers.

Beef tartare: Carefully pulse good beef in food processor. For each pound, add an egg, a teaspoon dry mustard, a tablespoon Dijon mustard, a tablespoon Worcestershire, Tabasco to taste, 1/2 cup chopped scallions and a touch of minced garlic. Salt and pepper, if necessary. On crackers.

Toss high-quality crab meat with minced shallots, a little tarragon or a lot of parsley and/or basil, and enough mayonnaise to bind. On crackers, also good on lettuce leaves.

Portable Caprese: Skewer a small ball of mozzarella, a grape tomato and a bit of basil leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil.

Marinated mushrooms: Cut button mushrooms into chunks and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let rest five minutes. Spear two chunks with a piece of Parmesan about the same size.

Fill endive leaves with crème fraîche or sour cream and caviar or salmon roe. Or use drained ricotta mixed with chopped parsley, thyme, a little olive oil and a little minced garlic.

With a case of inexpensive Prosecco, you’ve got a party! (Get some OJ and Cranberry, too for Mimosas and Poinsettias).


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