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After covering countless award shows, E! host Maria Menounos knows what goes into prepping for a red carpet.
Anyone who’s hosted a dinner for Very Important People (your future mother-in-law, your boss, your fanciest friends), knows that it takes tons of advance planning. Now throw Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Sandra Bullock into the mix.
How do you satisfy Hollywood’s biggest stars– people with discerning palates, often strict diets and tight dresses?
“The challenge in this case is having that one plate that has three different dishes on it that need to all really work together,” says Goin, who previewed the SAG Awards menu last week at her West Hollywood restaurant Lucques. “How do I do that? I use the produce and vegetables that are the most beautiful.”
And Goin also keeps the occasion firmly in mind. “I want the plate to be festive and have a party feeling to it the way the awards actually do,” adds the chef, who uses all seasonal and local ingredients from farmers she works with all year round. “These awards really feel like a party.”
The calorie-conscious menu gives guests two choices. The vegetarian option includes a plate with a salad of beets, blood oranges, feta cheese and black olives; a serving of curried cauliflower, couscous and pomegranate salsa; and a hearty salad of farro with kale, young broccoli, currants and pine nuts.
The non-veggie plate includes melt-in-your-mouth slow roasted salmon with green rice and edible flowers; sliced beef tenderloin with horseradish cream; and the same tangy salad of beets and blood oranges.
Goin, who describes herself as nervous by nature when it comes to cooking for such a high-profile event, says the toughest part is the last 48 hours before the event. Because everything is made fresh, she and her staff “can’t really cook until the last minute,” she says. “The end is a real push and a crunch. … But when you’re done, it’s the happiest moment.”
Roasted Beets & Blood Oranges with Feta and Black Olives
• 3 bunches of small to medium beets
• ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 5 large blood oranges
• 2 tbsp. finely diced shallots
• 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
• 1 tbsp. lemon juice
• ½ cup Nyons olives of other strong-tasting oil-cured black olives, pitted
• 2 oz. arugula
• ¼ pound feta cheese
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 450
2. Cut the greens off beets, leaving about ½-inch of the stem still attached. Clean the beets well and toss them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the beets in a roasting pan with a splash of water in the bottom. Cover the pan tightly with foil and roast the beats about 40 minutes or until they’re tender when pierced. When they’re done, carefully remove the foil. Let cool and peel the beets by slipping off the skins with your fingers. Slice the beets into wedges and place in a large bowl.
3. Slice the stem and ends off four of the blood oranges. Stand them on one end and, following the contour of the fruit with your knife, remove the peel and white cottony pith. Work from the top and bottom, rotating the fruit as you go. Slice each orange thinly into 8 to 10 pinwheels.
4. Squeeze juice from remaining blood orange and reserve a ¼ cup for the vinaigrette.
5. Combine the diced shallot, vinegar, lemon juice, ¼ cup blood orange juice and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl, and let it sit 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining ½ cup olive oil and taste for seasoning.
6. Toss the beats with ¾ of the vinaigrette and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Gently toss in the olives and arugula.
7. Arrange half the salad on a platter. Tuck half the blood oranges in and around the beets and scatter half of the feta on top. Place the rest of the salad on top and nestle the remaining blood oranges into the salad and sprinkle the remaining feta on top.
Beef Tenderloin with Fingerlings, Arugula and Horseradish Cream
• 4 lb. center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed
• 2 tsp. cracked black pepper
• 1 Tbsp. rosemary leaves, plus 3 springs
• 1 Tbsp. thyme leaves, plus 6 springs
• 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, sliced
• 2 oz. arugula
• Roasted fingerling potatoes (recipe follows)
• Horseradish cream (recipe follows)
1. Marinate the beef overnight with the black pepper, thyme leaves and rosemary.
2. Remove the meat from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. After 30 minutes, season the beef generously with kosher salt.
3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
4. Heat a large cast iron or other heavy pan over high heat for 4 minutes. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and place the beef in the pan. Sear until well browned and caramelized on all sides. Transfer to a rack set in a roasting pan and top with the sliced butter and the springs of thyme and rosemary. Place in the oven and cook about 50 minutes until the center reads 125 degrees on a meet thermometer.
5. Baste with the buttery-herby juices and let rest at least 12 minutes. 6. Slice into ½-inch thick pieces and serve with the fingerling potatoes, a few arugula leaves and a dollop of the horseradish cream on top.
For the roasted fingerling potatoes
• 1 lb. fingerling potatoes
• 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed
• 4 springs thyme
• 1 Tbsp. rosemary leaves
1. Preheat over to 450 degrees.
2. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Place in a roasting pan, cover with aluminum foil and roast for about 40 minutes until tender
For the horseradish sauce
• ¾ cup créme fraiche
• 1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
• Kosher salt and black pepper
Combine the créme fraiche and horseradish in a small bowl. Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning.