Food An Over-the-Top Vietnamese Menu From "The Red Boast Fish Sauce Cookbook"
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While Rodgers and Hammerstein’s favorite feast might include crisp apple strudel and schnitzel with noodles, nothing says holiday to us quite like savory braised pork belly and honeycomb cakes. The dishes on this menu make for a great feast, one that takesfounder Cuong Pham back to his mother’s holiday table of years past. They also have the distinct advantage of reducing the stress of the holiday party: Most of these recipes can be prepared ahead of time, so you won’t need to spend the entire evening in the kitchen and miss out on the merriment.
Our savory fritters of plump shrimp tucked into a nest of taro will please even the pickiest eater. Take advantage of the taro, which stays incredibly crisp once fried, and fry your fritters up to 2 hours ahead. Keep them on a baking pan lined with a wire rack in a warm oven at the lowest setting until you’re ready to serve. They’re excellent either plated or passed around during the party. Don’t forget the nuoc cham on the side!
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For the greens, everything can be prepared in advance: The garlic sauce can be made up to a week ahead, and you can blanch the broccolini the day before your party and store it in the fridge. When the party starts, give the garlic sauce a quick stir, then toss with the broccolini—that's it! Both are terrific right out of the fridge, but can be rewarmed if desired.
Our holiday pork braise is a thing of beauty, and part of the beauty is that its flavor only gets better with a rest in the refrigerator. Make the braise up to 3 days ahead of your party. Place the braise—pot, lid, and all—in the fridge and let it chill until the day of. An hour before serving, reheat the covered braise over low heat until it comes to a gentle simmer, 30 to 45 minutes.
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And finally, our honeycomb cake is a lovely way to end the night. Like many baked goods, it is best enjoyed on the day it’s baked, but you could also make it the night before. Just use this pro baker trick: Once the cake cools and releases from the pan, place it back into the cake pan, then wrap the entire cake pan in plastic wrap to prevent it from losing moisture and becoming dry and tough. Let the cake sit on the counter and unwrap and unmold it at party time. Serve slices with a nightcap or hot tea.
Which recipe from The Big Feast will you be incorporating into your menu? Let us know in the comments!
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