A Menu to Please Even the Toughest In-laws

Our team of expert chefs put together a few ideas for your meal with the folks. You can make the appetizer in advance, and just reheat in the oven for a few minutes before serving. Wash and chop your vegetables and strawberries the morning of the dinner, leaving you with very little work to do at the last minute. This is an elegant menu, with a few pricey ingredients. Don’t worry; you’re going to dazzle them.

Appetizer: Shrimp and Crab Mousse Cake
Main: Roast Leg of Lamb with Baby Vegetables
Side: Wild Mushroom Saute with Crabmeat
Dessert: Toasted Pound Cake with Strawberries and Ice Cream

Shrimp and Crab Mousse Cake, Hotel du Pont

Makes about 8-10 Cakes

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
2 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2-3 dashes Tabasco
11/2 bunches scallions, chopped and sauted
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat (picked through)
1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon butter or vegetable oil

Mince shrimp in food processor. Add eggs and blend well. Add heavy cream and blend to make mousse. Transfer to a stainless steel bowl and add rest of ingredients. Heat non-stick pan over medium heat. Add butter or vegetable oil. Form crab cakes with an ice cream scoop. Scoop directly into the non-stick pan Brown on both sides, about 2 minutes each side.

For Sauce

4-5 shallots chopped
1 cup white wine
1 quart heavy cream
1/2 cup champagne mustard
salt/white pepper to taste

Place shallots and wine in saucepan. Bring to simmer and reduce till syrupy. Add heavy cream. Reduce by half. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Strain. Add champagne mustard and spoon over shrimp cakes.

Roast Rack of Lamb with Butter Braised Asparagus, Fingerling Potatoes with Thyme, Natural Lamb Jus, Four Seasons Hotel

4-6 servings

6 4-boned lamb racks, trimmed (reserve all trimmings)
2 lb lamb bones cut small
2 onions, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 large leek, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cups white wine
3 pounds asparagus
3 pounds fingerling potatoes
1 bunch of fresh thyme, picked and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

For the Sauce:

Saute the lamb trimmings and the bones until brown on all sides. Add the vegetables and continue to saute for 5 minutes, add tomatoes, cook 3 minutes. Deglaze pan with white wine and reduce until dry. Add water to cover bones and vegetables (onions through tomatoes), and half of the thyme. Simmer for 3 hours then strain out the solids, reserve liquid. Reduce the liquid to 2 cups, skim off the fat. Trim the asparagus to 5-inch lengths, then blanch in salted water until tender about 2 minutes. Then shock in ice water. Slice the fingerling potatoes and place in water until service.

At Service Time:

Roast the lamb racks at 425 for 25 minutes for medium rare. At the same time, toss the potatoes in olive oil and the rest of the fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper and along with the lamb. Reheat the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and finish with 1 tablespoon of butter. Warm asparagus in 1tablespoon butter, season with salt and pepper.

Wild Mushroom and Onion Saute
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white onions, sliced
2 cups shiitake or other wild mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1/2 cup jumbo lump crabmeat
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Melt butter in a large saute ‘ pan over high heat. Add onions and mushrooms. Cook until onions are translucent. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce and cream. Cook until mixture is thick and liquid is reduced by half. Add crabmeat and gently stir to combine. Cook until heated through, and serve.

Toasted Butter Pound Cake with Strawberries, Four Seasons Hotel

Serves 4

One small loaf of butter pound cake
1 pint strawberries
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
4 mint leaves
vanilla ice cream

Rinse the strawberries, remove the top and cut into quarters (you can do this earlier in the day). Sprinkle berries with the sugar and the Grand Marnier and lightly toss, leave for 15 minutes. Slice the pound cake into ½ inch slices and lightly color in the toaster. For each portion, take one slice of pound cake and cut diagonally and place in the center of the plate. Spoon the macerated strawberries on top, add a scoop of ice cream, and garnish with a mint leaf.

Author: Beth D'Addono

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