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Dishes could be stars on Oscar night

BY Dave Cathey Published: February 18, 2009
If you’re going to throw an Oscar party, you might as well take advice from someone with experience.

Wolfgang Puck has been chef to the stars since the 1980s, his California restaurants from Spago to Cut have always been popular spots before and after the Academy Awards.

Here are three recipes he suggests for your Oscar night soiree.

Slow-Braised Short Ribs
Serves 6

1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 short ribs, trimmed


1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

Flour for dredging

10 cloves garlic, peeled

8 large shallots, peeled, trimmed, rinsed, split and dried

2 medium organic carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

2 stalks organic celery, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped

6 sprigs Italian parsley

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 quarts unsalted organic beef stock or chicken stock

Freshly ground white pepper

→Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When the wine is heated, carefully set it aflame. Let the flames die out, then increase the heat so that the wine boils; allow it to boil until it cooks down by half. Remove from the heat.

→Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

→Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large casserole, large enough to hold 6 ribs, over medium-high heat. Season the ribs all over with salt and the crushed pepper. Dust the ribs with about 2 tablespoons of flour and then when the oil is hot, slip the ribs into the pot and sear for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until well browned.

→Transfer the browned ribs to a plate. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot; lower the heat to medium, and toss in the vegetables and herbs. Brown the vegetables lightly 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to blend.

→Add the reduced wine, browned ribs, and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil; cover the pot tightly, and slide it into the oven to braise for about 2½ hours, or until the ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Every 30 minutes or so, lift the lid and skim and discard whatever fat may have bubbled to the surface.

→Carefully transfer the meat to a heated serving platter with a lip and keep warm. Boil the pan liquid until it thickens and reduces to about 1 quart. Season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids.

Source: Courtesy Wolfgang Puck.

Smoked Salmon Blinis
Serves 8 to 10

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 cage-free eggs, separated

1½ cups buttermilk

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup diced onions

2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1½ teaspoons salt

1½ teaspoons white pepper

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


Freshly ground white pepper

4 to 5 ounces smoked salmon, whitefish or sturgeon, cut into paper-thin slices

Fresh lemon juice

8 to 10 dill sprigs for garnish

→In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.


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