Friday, February 24, 2012

Wolfgang Puck & The 84th Academy Awards

For the 18th consecutive year, master chef Wolfgang Puck has been selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to create the menu for the Governors Ball, the celebration immediately following the 84th Academy Awards presentation on Oscar Sunday, February 26, 2012. The menu, menu created by Wolfgang Puck with Chef Partner Matt Bencivenga and Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, will feature more than fifty dishes, from one-bite hors d'oeuvres to small-plate entrees that will be passed throughout the evening. 

This years menu will be created by Wolfgang Puck and Chef Matt Bencivenga 
and will feature more than fifty dishes

This is a radical shift from tradition. Rather than a formal dinner at tables with place settings, this years approach is intended to create a more casual feel, with servers passing trays with small plates and one-bite hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening to Hollywoods glitterati. Signature favorites such as smoked Salmon on Oscar with caviar, Mini Kobe burgers, Braised Short Ribs, Chinous Lamb and Chicken Pot-Pie with Shaved Black Truffles — Barbara Streisand’s personal fave — will be served, along with crates of Moet & Chandon champagne.

Moet and Chandon Champagne is the exclusive Champagne for the Oscars

Working in a state-of-the-art kitchens adjacent to the Grand Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center, Puck will lead a team of chefs, pastry chefs and other culinary artists who will be responsible for the cooking, presentation and execution of the menu, featuring fresh local produce and sustainable seafoodFor the festivities, Puck and Bencivenga will be feeding 1,500 guests with a staff of 900. Oscar revelers will consume about 1,200 bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne, 1,200 pounds of organic chicken, 1,000 pounds of wild salmon, 1,200 kumamoto oysters, 200 pounds of sticky rice, 25 gallons of cocktail sauce and 350 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes. Puck says this is the biggest party of the year, but the best part for him is when it's over. "I can go sit down and have a good glass of wine." 

Wolfgang putting the finishing touches on the Smoked Salmon Oscar Flatbreads 
with Caviar and Crème Fraiche

Appetizers will include a selection of tray-passed hors d'oeuvres such as Smoked Salmon on Oscar Flatbread with Caviar and Crème Fraiche, Spicy Tuna Tartare in Sesame Miso Cones with Masago, Mini Kobe Cheeseburgers with Remoulade and Aged Cheddar, Pork Belly Dumplings with Soy and Ginger, Crab Cakes with Remoulade, Arrancini with Tomato, Basil and Parmesan, Tempura Shrimp with Wasabi Glaze, Vegetable Spring Rolls with Sweet Chili Sauce and Assorted Wolfgang Puck signature Pizzas.

Wolfgang Puck's Vegetable Spring Rolls with sweet chili sauce

Sweet Maryland Crab Cakes with Herb Remoulade

Spicy Tuna Tartare in Sesame Miso Cones with Masago

Mini Kobe Cheeseburger with Remoulade and Aged Cheddar

Potato Latke with Smoked Sturgeon and Horseradish

A battalion of small plates stations will also be positioned around the Governors Ball venue to serve more substantial fare including Chicken Pot Pie with Shaved Black Truffles and Roasted Vegetables, Beet Tortelloni with Goat Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts, Gold Wrapped Baked Potato with Caviar and Crème Fraiche, Slow Braised Short Rib with Polenta and Romesco Sauce, Crab and Lobster Louie, Macaroni & Cheese with Aged Cheddar, Shanghai Lobster with Coconut Curry, Jasmine Rice and Pickled Ginger, Chinois Lamb with Cilantro Mint Vinaigrette as well as a spectacular Sushi Buffets featuring Sushi Rolls, Nigiri and Sashimi with Wasabi, Soy and Ginger, and enormous Shellfish table overflowing with fresh Prawns, Lobster, Stone Crab and Oysters with mustard and cocktail sauces.

Crab and Lobster Louie 

Chicken Pot Pie with Shaved Black Truffles

Miles of Sushi Rolls, Nigiri and Sashimi 

Desserts to be passed around will include sweet delights such as Almond, Orange-Brown Butter Cake with Blood Orange, Date Cake with Sticky Toffee Pudding and Toffee Orange Sauce, Chocolate in 3D, Golden Candy Apple, Banana Cream Pie with Candied Popcorn, Tart Tatin with Pretzel Pastry and Caramel Gelato Chocolate Mousse in Golden Egg Cups.

Small chocolate Oscar statues, a signature treat of Chef Wolfgang Puck, 
will be available at the Governors Ball following the Academy Awards ceremony

There will be multiple dessert tables on show with offerings such as Raspberry Rose Eclairs, Strawberry Shortcake Push-Up Pops, Red Hot Macaroons, Star Shortbread with Silver Sugar, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pops, Brown Sugar, Lemon Meringue Cones, Chocolate Pudding Push-up Pops, and Long Stem Strawberries.

Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard and Wolfgang Puck 
with their Oscar-worthy culinary treats

What would a party be without Chocolate Fountains with farmers market Long Stem Strawberries? Not to mention miles of Chocolate Buffets with Chocolate Paninis, Triple Chocolate Cupcakes, Warm Coulent Souffle Cakes, Chocolate Dobos Torte, Earl Grey Tea Truffles, White Chocolate Coconut Rum Truffles, Milk Chocolate Caramel Truffles, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Triple Chocolate, Toffee Crunch Cookies, Chocolate Coffee Cups and to top it off — Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Yard's 24 Karat Chocolate Oscars made with edible gold dust. "There’s a special mold that we pour in and we airbrush them with 24k gold. We start to mold the chocolate two weeks in advance, and make about 5,500 chocolate Oscars," she said. "No one leaves without an chocolate Oscar!"

Wolfgang Puck’s Mini Cheese Burgers with Remoulade & Aged Cheddar 
Makes 12 mini burgers

3/4 lb ground beef
1/4 tsp Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 oz aged cheddar cheese, sliced
6 slices Brioche bread, punched out with a 2-inch ring cutter or 12 mini buns
Arugula leaves
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
3 cornichons, sliced

Remoulade Sauce:
2 cups heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3/4 cup of brunoise of red onion
1/2 cup of brunoise of red bell pepper
1/2 cup of brunoise of yellow bell pepper

For the remoulade sauce, combine the heavy cream, garlic, rosemary and paprika in a medium saucepan, and reduce by half. Allow to cool to room temperature. In a sauté pan, heat the peanut oil. Sweat the onions, red and yellow bell pepper until glossy. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat a grill or grill pan. Put the ground beef in a bowl and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together with your hands to combine. Take about 2 tablespoons of the ground beef and roll it in the palm of your hand like you are making meatballs. Flatten the top slightly and put the mini burger patties on a side plate. Drizzle the burgers with oil and season the tops with salt and pepper. Turn the burgers over and season the other side.

Place the burgers on the hot grill. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn them over with tongs. Put about 1/2 ounce of aged cheddar cheese on top of the burgers, allowing it to melt. While that’s cooking, put the brioche circles or mini buns on the grill. Let them toast slightly on both sides, about 2 minutes total time.

To put the burgers together: Put the toasted brioche circles or bun halves on a platter. Top each with a small spoonful of Remoulade. Put the burger on top, cheese side up, followed by an arugula leaf, a slice of tomato and a slice of cornichon. Top with other half of the brioche or buns, and secure with a decorative pick.

Blini with Smoked Salmon & Caviar
Serves 6

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp chopped fresh chives
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup peeled, steamed, and mashed potato

Dill Crème Fraiche:
1 1/2 cups crème fraiche
6 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp black pepper

For Assembly:
2 oz thinly sliced smoked salmon
3 tbsp salmon roe or black caviar
3 tbsp daikon sprouts
3 tbsp micro greens or fresh dill
Extra-virgin olive oil

For the Dill Creme Fraiche: In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all of the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

For the Blini: In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, fresh herbs, and salt. Stir in the buttermilk, milk, and egg. Fold in the melted butter and the mashed taro. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

To make the blini, heat a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat. Spoon the batter onto the griddle 2 tablespoons at a time to form 3-inch pancakes and cook them until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side, flipping them over when bubbles appear on the top. You should have a total of 16 blini.

Place the blini on a serving platter. Spread them with the crème fraiche, then drape smoked salmon over each pancake. Garnish with roe or caviar, daikon sprouts, micro greens or fresh dill, then drizzle lightly with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Chinois Grilled Lamb Chops with Cilantro Mint Vinaigrette
Serves 4

2 racks of lamb, trimmed and cut into individual chops
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup soy sauce
1 cup mirin
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 cups chopped scallions
1 tbsp dried red chile flakes

Cilantro Mint Vinaigrette:
1 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint, cilantro and parsley
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp chopped ginger
1/4 tsp chili oil

In a bowl, mix together all of the marinade ingredients. Then in a large shallow dish, pour the marinade over the lamb chops and refrigerate, covered for 1 hour. While the lamb chops are marinating, prepare the vinaigrette by combining all of the ingredients in a blender, except the oil, and blend until smooth. Slowly add peanut oil and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill. Remove the lamb chops from the marinade and place them on a hot grill. Grill medium rare, about 3 minutes each side; or sauté them in a skillet over high heat for about 2 minutes on each side. Cook the chops in several batches if necessary, but don’t crowd the pan.

Serve on a platter, or individual appetizer bowls, garnished with a spinach or basil leaf and cilantro mint vinaigrette.