New Year’s Eve is a tricky holiday if you ask me. You’re either single, in which case you might get all dressed up, go out, spend lots of money, and possibly be left awkwardly checking your phone or having to pretend to go to the bathroom around midnight, or you’re in a relationship in which case after all the holiday mania the thought of staying up until midnight in a crowded bar with a lot of strangers holds little appeal.
I’ve had my fair share of both of the aforementioned scenarios, and some other good, bad, and ugly New Year’s Eves in between.
Which is why I now love nothing more than getting a small group of friends together for an Elegant New Years Eve dinner party. It’s an excuse to set a beautiful table, make a dinner of special dishes, luxuriate over wine pairings, and yes, put on that sparkly shirt you can only wear once a year. All those fussy things you skip the rest of the time (signature cocktails, multiple courses, cheese plates) suddenly have a purpose and when shared over spectacular food and even better conversation, it’s hard to imagine anything better.
This Elegant Five Course New Years Eve Menu has something for everyone, but is made possible by the number of elements that can be made ahead. Yes, the chef does have to pop up in between to put the finishing touches on each course, but it allows a chance for the next bottle of wine to be opened, dishes cleared, and breaths caught.
What will you be doing for your New Year’s Eve?
Elegant Five Course New Years Eve Menu
- Signature Cocktail: French 75s – A positively celebratory way to kick off the evening. Many people have never heard of this drink, but I’ve never met a person who didn’t like it after trying it once. In a cocktail shaker with ice mix 1 1/2 oz Gin, 2 oz lemon juice, and 2 tsp of sugar. Pour into champagne glass, top with champagne and finish with lemon twist.
- First Course: Peter Canlis Prawns – Sautéed in dry vermouth, garlic, red chilies, and lime – Shrimp cocktail may be the stalwart of Holiday Parties, but after trying the famous prawns from Canlis, you will never want to go back. The shrimp can be par-cooked in advance, as well as the butter assembled and then you may finish them by reheating the butter with the shrimp in it and serving.
- Second Course: Arugula Pear Salad with White Truffle Vinaigrette – I made this for my friend’s Erin and Liesel once and they have never stopped requesting it since. The combination of salty arugula, bitter frisee, juicy pear, and finger licking white truffle vinaigrette make it a perfect second course. Everything can be prepped in advance, including the dressing, and then quickly dressed, tossed, and plated for service.
- Third Course: Cheese Plate – There is something undeniably decadent about a cheese course. The beauty of this is that it’s also a great way for your guests to partake in the meal. Ask each to bring their favorite cheese and then simply finish with a bit of fruit or chutney.
- Fourth Course: Seared Foie Gras on Toasted Brioche with Strawberry-Mint Reduction – I know foie gras is morally wrong and people are offended by it, but I love it, so this year I’m throwing caution to the wind and going to make it myself! This will be a first attempt, so stay tuned for the recipe on this one!
- Fifth Course: Vanilla Gelato Topped with Salted Caramel Sauce – I made this as holiday gifts this year and it must be the Christmas miracle that there is any left because I am
mildlytotally addicted. It’s good with ice cream, but with Gelato? It’s hard to imagine anything better. Recipe coming soon!