EAT YOUR GREENS
Clever use of vegetables can help create an exciting and cost-efficient menu. Jason Tan, the chef-owner of Corner House (www.cornerhouse.com.sg), shares his expertise.
PLUMP IT UP
The crowd-pleaser: Fresh tomatoes – such as vine-ripened cherry tomatoes from Holland or France – made into a tomato salad with sea salt, pepper, good-quality extra virgin olive oil and a few drops of raspberry vinegar. You can choose to marinate some of the tomatoes – for example, with plum powder, olive oil and honey. Too green for your taste? Simply add burrata.
An indulgent vegetarian main course that would give other guests food envy: a visually vibrant and attractive dish using around 15 vegetables, prepared with four to five techniques. Eryngii mushroom, white asparagus and wild asparagus are sauted; raw, crunchy black and pink radish, chioggia beet and endives are served dressed lightly with lemon olive oil; tomatoes, carrots and orange are done “confit”; corn and Jerusalem artichoke are made into a puree; and leeks are torched. Place these on a large flat plate to showcase every component, and finish it off with a shaving of truffle if it is in season.
Carrot as a chilled veloute; roasted and served in a wagyu beef cheek stew; and made into a parfait with maple walnut sable for dessert.
Beetroot as a carpaccio of heirloom beetroot with shaved comte cheese & horseradish, drizzled with olive oil; salt-crusted, slow roasted and served in a large wedge with pan-fried duck breast and duck jus for main course; as a granite with milk ice cream for dessert.
Corn as tempura with creme fraiche and caviar; a main course of corn puree, roasted corn kernels and raw corn kernel dressed in olive oil served with a slice of sous vide chicken breast with chicken jus; as an ice cream served with passion fruit and basil.
NO TIME TO PLAN YOUR MENU?
Get inspiration from these ready-made party packs that will be delivered to your doorstep.
LUXE FOODIE PARTY (Set from www.zairyo.sg)
Includes two live Maine lobsters, one medium-sized box of uni, 500g of sashimigrade scallops good also for steamboats or barbecue, 1kg of king crab legs and 1kg of tiger prawns.
BBQ PARCELS (from www.stoke.sg)
For parties comprising two to 12 people, these parcels include prime cuts of pork Iberico, Iberico ham, saltbush lamb, Spanish olives, mussels in olive oil, Spanish sardine pate and even manchego cheese for a pretty complete meal.
Three ways to luxe up a barbecue party – even when on a budget
The people behind Stoke, an online retailer of gourmet BBQ parcels (www.stoke.sg), offer their tips.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Allocate the majority of your funds to what’s most important. At Stoke, it’s always about the food. Natural artisanal meats grilled with simplicity is an honest meal that speaks for itself.
Presentation counts for a lot. Instead of single portions on disposable plates, present a sharing potion on nice platters to amp up the visual enticement factor.
It isn’t quite as luxurious if you are slaving away at the grill worrying about burning the meats as a host – or, worse, as a guest. There are options for chefs-for-hire and catering services at very reasonable prices.
PRIMED FOR PARTYING
Barbecues are not just about chicken wings and pineapple rings. Some of the best premium cuts for grilling include:
IBERICO SECRETO taken from between the shoulder blade and the loin of the prized Iberian pigs. Free-range and acorn-fed, the pigs yield exceptional marbling throughout and the meat has a melt-in-the-mouth texture.
ORGANIC SALTBUSH LAMB from the native pastures of Australia feed on Old Man Saltbush – a native plant rich in minerals and nutrients. The result is meat that is “seasoned on the hoof”, with a distinctive, strong flavour that lingers on the palate.
ORGANIC GRASS-FED BEEF RIBEYE with its naturally mild flavour, and lean yet juicy texture, make for perfect steaks. The livestock roam freely and are chemical- and hormone-free.
Tips to grilling meats right, all the time
Season simply and generously. If you have great meats, don’t mask the taste with marinades. Salt and pepper alone will lift and highlight the natural flavour of the meats.
Sear the meat on high heat to lock in the juices. It generally only takes 3-5 minutes on one side, and another 2-4 minutes on the other, to achieve a nice medium-rare consistency.
Rest the cuts for about fi ve minutes before slicing. This will prevent all the juices locked in during the searing process from seeping out.