Created on: December 28, 2012 Last Updated: January 07, 2013
Creating a menu for entertaining is easy. First, decide on the main theme of the meal and choose several side dishes to complement it. If you’ve selected a white meat such as chicken or pork, surround it with side dishes of vegetables that add texture and color to enhance an elegant presentation. For richer or heavier meats such as lamb or beef, add contrast with dark leafy greens. Baked or grilled fish will pair nicely with a light refreshing salad of interesting greens and fresh oranges.
With a roasted chicken, or loin of pork, serve a hearty combination of roasted potatoes with apples and onions. In a large roasting pan, add scrubbed and quartered white or Yukon gold potatoes, cored and quartered apples, and sweet white onions cut into chunks. Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt, pepper, thyme and parsley and roast in a 375 degree oven till tender and golden. Serve the vegetables in a covered casserole. Present the roast, thinly sliced, on a pretty meat platter garnished with fresh parsley. To accompany the roast, serve assorted condiments such as glass bowls of sour cream topped with finely sliced green onion, maple ginger barbecue sauce, or a Dijon mustard sauce.
Wash large leaf fresh greens such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard or a combination of your favorite greens. Spin or pat dry to remove excess water, and remove any heavy stems from spinach or chard. Chop into moderately sized pieces and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove, drain, and quickly saute for several minutes in hot olive oil until tender. Season with a sauce of melted butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, a pinch or two of dried red pepper flakes and a splash of dry white wine. Place a roast of beef or lamb in the center of a large serving platter and arrange the greens to surround the meat. Top the greens with thinly sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with a good quality balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly cracked pepper.
To accompany a platter of fish, this light and refreshing salad with a hint of licorice flavor can’t be beat. Chop a head or two of crisp romaine lettuce, and place it in a crystal salad bowl. Thinly slice a fennel bulb, avoiding the tough core, and add to lettuce. Add several handfuls of raisins or dried cranberries, fresh or canned orange sections, and a quarter cup of thinly sliced mild white or red onion; sprinkle in half a cup of slivered almonds or finely chopped walnuts. Prepare a light dressing of olive oil, white wine or champagne vinegar and season with salt, pepper, ground cumin and a splash of orange juice. Mix the dressing into the salad and chill for about 30 minutes before serving. Garnish the fish platter with a few of the feathery fennel fronds and thin slices of lemons and oranges.
Learn more about this author, Barbara Beaudoin.
Click here to send this author comments or questions.
Below are the top articles rated and ranked by Helium members on:
Elegant, fresh and easy side dishes
Cast your vote!
Click for your side.