Friday, February 20, 2015

Wolfgang Puck: 2015 Oscar Winning Culinary Classics

And the winner is...Austrian Chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck who will once again be creating an extravagant feast for celebrities and VIPs attending this year’s 2015 Academy Award ceremony with a menu consisting of no less than 32 different dishes. Puck, who has catered the Governors Ball for over 20 years, has given people a sneak peek of what the stars attending the event can expect with a tapas-style menu to be served. The ingredients for the feast, which is expected to be attended by over 1,500 people, shows how lavish the offerings will be: five kilos of caviar, 350 pounds of smoked salmon, 5,000 eggs and 30 pounds of edible gold dust are just some of the items Puck will be using for the dishes. There will also be 1,300 oysters, 6,000 mini chocolate Oscars as well as over 1,000 bottles of Champagne, all served up by 950 kitchen and waiting staff. And the star of this years feast — a giant cake in the shape of Charlie Chaplin’s hat — plus of course, the big winners picking up an Oscar earlier that night!

Wolfgang Puck is overseeing the annual gala’s menu for the 21st year in a row
Photo © Michael Buckner - Getty Images

Following this year's theme, Puck and his team will be melding vintage and contemporary Hollywood for their delectable dishes and desserts. “Some people are vegan and vegetarian, some people don’t eat fish or don’t eat meat. Because of that, we're making lots of different dishes, from a little Parsnip Chips with Eggplant Purée, which are a little Middle Eastern, to Lobster Rolls with Bacon, which are traditional American.” Other dishes include Baked Potatoes with Caviar, Beet Latkes with Pastrami Duck with Apple Mustard, Black Truffle Chicken Pot Pies, Wagyu Shortribs with squash purée, Chilled Sweet Pea Soup, and Puck’s signature Oscar-shaped Smoked Salmon Matzo. "This used to be an event where everyone sat down like a formal black tie dinner. I thought that was very boring," Puck says. "It's much more fun and relaxed this way and everyone can taste all the dishes. Everyone likes small plates. We'll see this year who is going to eat seconds but I want people to try all the different dishes. There is a lot of food!"

Governors Ball Menu
February 22, 2015
Menu created by Chef Wolfgang Puck with Matt Bencivenga 
Pastry Team: Kamel Guechida, Della Gossett, Jason Lemonnier

Tray-Passed Hors D'Oeuvres
Mini American Wagyu Burgers with Aged Cheddar & Remoulade
Lobster "BLT" with Bacon, Tomato, Chive Aioli & Brioche
Beet Latkes with Pastrami Duck & Apple Mustard
Spicy Tuna Tartare in Sesame Miso Cone
Deviled Eggs with Spiced Crab
Parsnip Chips with Caponata & Capers
Aged Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Roasted Tomato 
Smoked Hominy Toasts with Avocado & Salsa Verde 
Crispy Artichokes with Citrus-Chili Gremolata

Cocktail Bites
Homemade Pretzels, Pimento Cheese
Five-Year Aged Gouda & Parmigiano-Reggiano
Deviled Eggs with Spiced Crab
Roasted Nuts with Rosemary, Cayenne, Sea Salt & Brown Sugar 
Breadsticks and Seeded Lavash

Passed Small Plates - Served Hot
Baked Potato with Caviar
Chicken Pot Pie with Black Truffles
Parsnip Soup with White Chocolate, Pears, Rosemary and 24k Gold
Baked Macaroni & Cheese
Crispy Potato Galette with Smoked Salmon and Caviar 
Wagyu Shortribs with Hay-Smoked Kabocha Squash Puree 
Celery Root Agnolotti with Black Winter Truffles
Dover Sole with Fennel, Chili & Orange Miso Vinaigrette

Passed Small Plates - Served Chilled
Lobster Salad with Artichokes, Asparagus, Fava Beans, 
Baby Beets & Citrus Vinaigrette
Chinois Chicken Salad
Chilled Sweet Pea Soup with Black Truffles

Coffee Oscar Lollipops
Peanut Butter Strawberry Lollipops
Apple Millefeuille with Cider Jelly
Violet Creme Brûlée with Blackcurrant Jelly
Passion Fruit Pate de Fruits
Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta with Raspberries 
Bittersweet Chocolate Cupcake with Marshmallow Frosting 
Hollywood Chocolate Mousse & Citrus Crème Brûlée
Chocolate Chip Cookies & S'mores Cupcakes
Puck’s famous 24-carat gold chocolate Oscars
(so everyone can go home with an Oscar!)

Beautiful Beet Latkes with Duck Pastrami

Puck's signature Oscar-shaped Smoked Salmon and Caviar matzo appetizers

Luscious Parsnip Soup with White Chocolate, Pears, Rosemary and 24k Gold

Vegan taro root tacos, lobster shrimp dumplings, and vegan white bean quinoa cakes

Crispy potato galettes made with smoked salmon that Puck makes himself

Lobster Roll canapés with bacon

Buttermilk-Marinated Fried Chicken and Creamy Grits with Sweet-and-Spicy Sauce

Spicy Tuna Tartare in Sesame Miso Cones

What would a party be without sushi?

Wild salmon with ginger and almonds

Chicken Pot Pie with Truffles

Caramel garden, coffee soil, chocolate malted tree with fleur de sel

Chocolate dipped strawberry cheesecake pops

Puck's Charlie Chaplin-inspired Hollywood Cake

Piper-Heidsieck will be serving up 1,500 bottles of champagne 
— including 750 of their exclusive Rare bottles

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

3/4 lb prime ground beef, such as Kobe-style
1/4 tsp Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
12 small slices of cheddar cheese
12 mini sesame brioche 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 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp peanut oil
3/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced 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.

Potato Latkes with Smoked Salmon
Makes 12 to 14 latkes
Recipe courtesy of Wolfgang Puck

1 lb russet baking potatoes, peeled
1 small onion, peeled
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cooking oil, such as canola, peanut, or safflower
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tsp minced fresh dill
Lemon juice
1/2 lb smoked salmon or gravlax, sliced thinly
4 oz Sevruga Caviar for garnish, optional

Using the large holes of a box grater or the grating disk on a food processor, shred the potatoes into a mixing bowl, then grate in the onion.

Line a large bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Transfer the mixture to the towel-lined bowl, twist the towel around it and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Alternatively you can pick the mixture up by handfuls and squeeze dry. Transfer to another bowl. Add the egg, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and stir with a fork until well blended.

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large, heavy skillet or in a an electric fryer set at 350°F until it ripples and feels quite hot when you hold your hand over it. With a metal tablespoon, carefully place a spoonful of the mixture into the hot oil. Press down on the mixture with an offset spatula to form an evenly thick pancake about 3 inches in diameter. Add more spoonfuls, taking care not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook the pancakes until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning them over carefully with a slotted metal spatula. Transfer to a tray or platter lined with paper towels to drain. Continue with the remaining mixture. If not serving right away, allow to cool completely. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 400°F, place the potatoes on a baking sheet and heat in the oven until crisp, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the crème fraîche or sour cream and dill. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. To serve, transfer the hot potato pancakes to a platter. Spoon a small dollop of the crème fraîche mixture onto each pancake and top with folds of smoked salmon with a garnish of caviar. Serve immediately. 

Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Black Truffles
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Wolfgang Puck

8 oz elbow macaroni
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
3 tbsp finely chopped black truffles
1/2 medium white onion
1 bay leaf
10 oz sharp aged white cheddar, grated
3 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Pinch cayenne
3 tbsp butter
1 cup brioche bread crumbs
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Sliced fresh black truffles for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. In large pot of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni to al dente, about 7 minutes. Strain and place on a lightly oiled sheet pan. While the macaroni is cooking, in a separate pot over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Continue to cook over low heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk, chopped truffles, onion and bay leaf. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove onion and bay leaf. Turn off the heat and add 3/4 of the aged cheddar and all of the other cheeses. Season with salt and black pepper and cayenne and fold in macaroni. Pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheddar. Melt the butter in a sauté pan and toss breadcrumbs and parsley to coat. Top the macaroni with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven let stand for about 5 minutes. Serve with fresh shaved black truffles.

The 2015 Academy Awards Penicillin
Serves 4

8 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch
3 oz Fresh lemon
3 oz Ginger syrup
4 pieces candied ginger for garnish

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Pour in four rocks glasses with hand-chipped ice and garnish of candied ginger.