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Lifestyle

February 23, 2014

Crostini for the Oscars

An Oscar viewing party should be the culinary antithesis of a Super Bowl gathering. Where the latter focuses on big, bold, messy flavors tied together with a whole lot of fat, the Academy Awards call for a more refined dining experience (even if both events are spent on the same couch in front of the same television).

So for our refined fare, we opted for a crostini party. We created 10 toppings that can be spooned, scooped or smeared onto whatever bases you like. Assemble the toppings, offer up an assortment of breads, crackers and crisps, then let guests help themselves while you focus on the awards (and the cocktails).

To make your party prep even easier, all of these toppings can be assembled up to a day ahead of time. Many of them take 30 minutes or less to assemble. The flavors will be better if you let the toppings come to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

SMOKED SALMON TARTARE

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 12

8 ounces smoked salmon

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Zest and juice of 1 orange

1/2 English cucumber, seeded and finely diced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and ground black pepper

Place the salmon in the freezer for 10 minutes, or until very cold. Dice the salmon using a very sharp knife.

In a medium bowl, combine the citrus zests and juices, cucumber, chives, cilantro and coriander. Mix gently but thoroughly, then mix in the salmon. Season with salt and black pepper.

BALSAMIC MARINATED MUSHROOMS

Start to finish: 2 hours (15 minutes active)

Servings: 12

1 pound small cremini or button mushrooms

Salt and ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Halve or quarter the mushrooms to be small bites. Heat a skillet over medium-high and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to release their moisture and brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, olive oil and rosemary, then cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Cover and let sit for 2 hours.

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