Jeff and I decided to stay local this New Year’s. Our neighborhood celebrates with fireworks in the park so our plan was to bundle up, pack hot toddies, and head over there just before midnight. For dinner, we considered a few of the tasting menu options at nearby restaurants, but they were all too much (especially for our post-Christmas wallets). So we thought…why not make our own tasting menu?

The December issue of Bon Appetit featured a meal by the owners of Gjelina, the restaurant I wrote about in my LA post. Although the recipes were intended for a Christmas dinner, I think a fish feast seems just as appropriate for a New Year’s dinner. Also, Jeff got an oyster knife set for Christmas so we’ve been looking for excuses to use it anyway.

After shopping at Whole Foods for the ingredients, we had to make some modifications (they didn’t have sardines that day so we used a whole mackerel instead). We also added a pizza from the Franny’s cookbook. The final menu was as followed, with drink pairings included (recipes at end of post):

Oysters with Red Wine Vinegar and Black Pepper Migonette
Cheese and Pickle Plate
Paired with: Prosecco

Clam Pizza
Paired with: New York Sour

Baked Mackerel with Pepperonata
Sunchokes with Salsa Verde
Paired with: Chianti

Hot Toddy


Oysters and Cheese Plate


Clam Pizza


New York Sour





I know it looks like a lot of food for two, but we ate every single bite. We spaced out the courses which helped, but hey, it was New Year’s Eve and we were ending 2013 with a bang. After dinner, we filled our thermoses with whiskey tea, put on our puffiest winter coats, and walked to the park. We huddled close, counted down to midnight, and watched the fireworks ring in the new year.


Red Wine Vinegar and Black Pepper Migonette
1 small shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Kosher salt

Combine shallot, vinegar, and pepper in a small bowl; season lightly with salt. (Serve alongside oysters.)

New York Sour
1 large egg white*
4 ounces rye whiskey
1½ ounces fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce full-bodied red wine

Shake egg white, whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker until frothy, about 1 minute. Fill shaker with ice and shake until outside is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into 2 coupe glasses. Gently pour ½ oz. wine over the back of a spoon held just above each drink’s surface so wine floats on top.

*Raw egg is not recommended for infants, the elderly, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems…or people who don’t like raw egg.

Sunchokes with Salsa Verde (Serves 8)
3 pounds Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes), unpeeled, cut into 1½” pieces
½ cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss Jerusalem artichokes with ¼ cup oil on a baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing halfway through, until soft, 25–30 minutes.

Mix anchovies, garlic, parsley, capers, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and remaining ¼ cup oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Serve with Jerusalem artichokes.

Baked Sardines (or Mackerel) in Peperonata (Serves 8)
4 red bell peppers
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons drained capers
½ teaspoon dried oregano
8 whole fresh sardines, scaled, gutted, deboned (Ask for the bones removed, but keep the head and tail intact)
Chopped fresh dill and grilled crusty bread (for serving)

Preheat broiler. Broil peppers on a broiler-proof rimmed baking sheet, turning occasionally, until blistered all over, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit 15 minutes. Peel, seed, and slice into ¼”-wide strips.

Reduce oven temperature to 450°. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8–10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add tomato paste and sugar and cook, stirring, until tomato paste is beginning to darken, about 1 minute. Add wine and vinegar and cook, stirring often, until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Mix in roasted peppers, parsley, capers, and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer pepperonata to a shallow 3-qt. baking dish.

Season sardines inside and out with salt and pepper; lay on top of pepperonata. Drizzle with oil and bake until sardines are firm and beginning to brown, 15–20 minutes. Top with dill, drizzle with more oil, and serve with bread.

Hot Toddy
1 part whiskey
1/2 part lemon juice
1/4 part honey
4 parts hot water
1 cinnamon stick

Bring a pot of water to a boil. While it’s heating, coat the bottom of a mug with honey. Add whiskey. Squeeze in fresh lemon juice. Once water is hot, pour to fill the rest of the mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.