Hired Gun.

The Salted Cod was recently asked to cater a party. This was both exciting news and an honor to be asked. I cordially accept this offer.

(Starting at the top from left to right: Caprese, arugula & shaved carrot salad, balsamic & oil, lemon garlic vinaigrette, sauerkraut & apples braised in apple cider, meatballs, kielbasa & lasagna)

After accepting this offer I had around a month to plan a menu with my client, purchase all items for the event and finally and most importantly prepare the menu. This was my first time catering such a large event and quite honestly I was not too sure on how much food was really needed. We agreed on a menu which we both thought would be more than adequate for the number of people attending. I am going to take you through each item along with progress made.

The party menu is as follows:
Caprese salad with balsamic & oil
Arugula & shaved carrot salad with lemon garlic vinaigrette
Grilled Kielbasa marinated in Sam Adams Oktoberfest & Fresh pressed apple cider served with a side of sauerkraut & apples braised in apple cider
Birthday cake provided by host

I left work at 4:30 with the massive shopping list; I had a few stores to go to acquire all of the needed ingredients. I arrived back home at 7:30, unpacked and sorted a trunk full of items and get to work.

First thing first, I had to make two massive batches of tomato sauce for both our meatballs and lasagnas. This is my basic sauce minus the chili flakes that we make quite often. It is like by most people so we didn’t mess around. I had a hell of a lot of San Marzano tomatoes, onions, a bit of sugar, olive oil and basil. Once the two massive pots of sauce started bubbling away we moved on to our meatballs.

I found the meatballs to be the most challenging part of the hire. We decided on two trays for the party with a total of 10 pounds of meat. I split the meat right in half, half beef, half pork. The meat was seasoned with salt, garlic, and parmesan. We also had some day old crusty bread which we soaked in milk to help keep the meatballs moist. We flash fried the meatballs just enough to keep them together before simmering in the sauce to finish.

At this point I'm ready to call it a night, its 1 am and the sauce and meatballs are complete. We have one last quick thing to do. Stick all the kielbasa in a pot to marinate with the Oktoberfest and cider.

First thing first crank that oven up and pump out 3 trays of lasagna with enough time to rest each tray before serving. We mixed our ricotta with 3 eggs per 2 quarts of ricotta, parsley, black pepper, salt and parmesan. Each tray had 5 layers of sauce, pasta, ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan, with the middle layer receiving a splash of green with some fresh basil.

Lasagna done.

I purchased the Kielbasa at Euromart in Dorchester. Euromart is a great polish deli with lots of homemade goodies and great meats.

The kielbasa was grilled with no problems at all, about an hours worth of work. I also had a small spray bottle of cider to constantly spritz the meat while grilling. The drained sauerkraut and diced apples were braised in cider to serve as a side.

I had a great helper for the salad who did most of the prep for me while I made the dressings.

Everything is now packed and ready to go 3 hours before show time.

What a whirlwind of a weekend. I clocked in 10 hours of kitchen time without counting trip the store. It turned out to be quite a feast. The meatballs were a bit on the bland side, theys to could have definitely used more salt. I found it on the harder side to control the quality with such a large batch. Next time we will be making mini balls to test along the way. The rest of our dishes came out great and were well received.

I got home and fell directly asleep with my clothes on, exhausted at 9:00pm. It was a hell of an experience.


joseph said...

That's quite exciting. I want some sauerkraut and apples in cider.

Boston Chef said...

wow that is amazing... great job with all the food! wish we coulda tried your 'basa and your 'sana.

we'll have to check out Euromart for some polska meats!

Chef JP said...

Great menu with lots of contrasting flavors---I hope your client enjoyed this wonderful feed!

Otis said...

Hey, that kielbasa looks even better than what you cooked that time in Brooklyn, yumm.

alicia said...

i'm so hungry now.

rojo o verde?? said...

I'd love to hire the Salted Cod to cater my graduation party in December. An electrician fixed our oven, so it shouldn't crap out again! Let me know if the Salted Cod can find room in it's busy schedule for an all expenses paid weekend in Maine!

Deborah Dowd said...

Nice looking, hearty menu,everything looks great!