Sometimes you just want to sexy-it-up a bit. Add a bit of punch to your dinner party. Well, we’ve (happily!) done some research and the following recipes are so decadent, your guests won’t be able to contain themselves! Dinner parties are a great way to experiment with new flavours and ideas, so go ahead, don’t be bashful, try something different and a little bit sexy. All the recipes here are relatively simply to do and some can be done beforehand so that you can spend less time in the kitchen, and more time just having fun.
Pancetta-Wrapped Asparagus with Citronette
This is an easy and delicious recipe. You can easily have some asparagus without pancetta for those who don’t want the meat. The zest adds just the right amount of citrus.
- 2 pounds medium asparagus
- 1/2 pound very thinly sliced pancetta
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
- Tightly wrap each asparagus spear in a slice of pancetta and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
- Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, stir the orange zest and juice with the mustard and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill the asparagus over moderate heat, turning often, until they are just tender and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the asparagus to a platter and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with the thyme and serve.
- MAKE AHEAD The uncooked pancetta-wrapped asparagus can be covered and refrigerated overnight.
Whole Wheat Blinis with American Caviar
The use of American (or Canadian) Caviar makes this a more affordable dish and the taste is very comparable to the traditional, much more expensive caviar.
- 3 tablespoons warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
- 2 tablespoons sour cream plus additional for serving
- 1 large egg, separated
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- 2 ounce American caviar
- Pour 3 tablespoons warm water into bowl. Sprinkle yeast over; stir to blend. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes.
- Whisk milk, melted butter, 2 tablespoons sour cream, egg yolk, sugar, and salt into yeast mixture. Add both flours; whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature until very small bubbles begin to form on top of batter, 2 1/2 to 3 hours (batter will not rise).
- Using electric mixer, beat egg white in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg white and dill into batter.
- Brush griddle or large nonstick skillet with oil; heat over medium heat. Working in batches, drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto griddle; cook until bubbles form on top and blinis are golden on bottom, about 1 minute. Turn blinis over and cook until golden on bottom, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer blinis to rimmed baking sheet. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Rewarm uncovered in 350°F oven 5 minutes.
- Serve blinis with sour cream and caviar
Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon
Yummy, yum, yum. Nothing sexier or more decadent that a fantastic cut of beef. This recipe only calls for pan searing, which is totally fine, however, if you wish to cook it more than medium-rare, you can set in a 400F oven for about 10 minutes after searing. This will cook to more medium or medium-well. As with any meat, you’ll have to play with the timing to cook it to your specific requirements.
- 2 filet mignons, (5 to 6 ounces each, about 1 1/2 inches thick)
- Coarse salt and very coarsely ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Red Wine Sauce, for serving (optional)
- Season filets very generously on both sides with salt and pepper (especially pepper), patting in firmly.
- Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Cook filets until desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side (depending on thickness) for medium-rare.
- Remove strings from filets, and serve with Red Wine Sauce, if desired.
Red Wine Sauce
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut up
- Coarse salt
- Place 1 cup red wine in a small saucepan; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat; add 2 tablespoons cold cut-up butter, and swirl pan until butter is melted and sauce is thickened, about 1 minute. Season with coarse salt; serve withPepper-Crusted Filet Mignon.
Warm Jasmine Rice Pudding with Passion Fruit
Okay, so this recipe involves a bit more preparation and is, slightly, more labour intensive. However, it’s worth a little extra effort for something this divine.
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3 tablespoons Malibu rum or other coconut-flavored rum
- 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
- 1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
- 1 1/4 cups jasmine rice
- 6 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup chilled whipping cream
- 2 1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel
- 6 passion fruits, halved, juice and seeds scooped into bowl
- Combine raisins and rum in small bowl. Let stand at room temperature while preparing pudding.
- Combine nonfat milk and next 4 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to simmer; remove from heat. Allow to steep uncovered 1 hour. Strain coconut broth.
- Rinse rice in medium bowl of cold water. Drain. Repeat 2 more times. Cook 1 cup coconut broth and rice in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Add remaining coconut broth; cook over low heat until rice is tender, stirring frequently, about 13 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 6 tablespoons sugar (mixture will be thick). Transfer to large bowl; cool.
- Whip cream in medium bowl until cream holds peaks. Fold half of whipped cream into cooled rice. Drain raisins. Stir raisins and lime peel into rice. Fold in remaining whipped cream. Divide mixture among eight 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups.
- Preheat broiler. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon sugar over each pudding. Place puddings on rimmed baking sheet. Broil until sugar caramelizes, watching closely to prevent burning, about 3 minutes. Spoon passion fruit over puddings.
Recipes Credits: Pancetta-Wrapped Asparagus, Chef Mario Batali, Food & Wine; Blinis with Caviar, Bon Appetit; Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon & Red Wine Sauce, Martha Stewart Living; Jasmine Rice Puddings, Bon Appetit