New Year’s Eve is a time for glitz, glamour and Champagne. Not cooking—or, at least, not cooking a lot.
New Year’s Eve is a time for glitz, glamour and Champagne. Not cooking—or, at least, not cooking a lot. These five pricey foods are worth buying for a year-end party because they offer shortcuts to luxe flavor.
Nothing says “I’m fancy” like a small dollop of roe. And that’s all you need. Put it on blini with smoked fish and crème fraîche, and you've just created an hors d'oeuvre that cannot be beat. You don't have to spring for Sturgeon caviar, either—trout or salmon roe are amazing, as in this wonderful tapas recipe from chef José Andrés.
There's no way around the expense here, but a little truffle goes a long way. This pasta calls for just a few ingredients, but it's hard to imagine anything better.
3. Wagyu beef
Raised in the Kobe region of Japan, this cattle is known for its marbling characteristics: The cow is hand-fed and massaged, giving the meat a juicy and tender flavor. And now it can be purchased from several meat purveyors around the United States. Any classic steak recipe—like this spice-rubbed iteration from chef Marc Forgione—will do.
You get what you pay for when you buy pork products, so opt for the real stuff here: dry-cured ham from Parma, Italy, where the pigs feed on a regulated diet of grains, cereals and whey from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (which you should also buy, of course). Eat it on its own as a pre-meal charcuterie, or use it to make a simple main course like this one.
The process of obtaining saffron threads is extremely labor-intensive, which is why it cost thousands of dollars per pound and is typically sold in fractions of a gram. Thankfully, you only need a little. Adding a pinch of threads to a pot with crisp white wine, mussels and heavy cream (as in this recipe) makes for an elegant meal.