If you're planning lighter fare for your Oscars fete this category is a goldmine:
Amy Adams in “Junebug” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Catherine Keener in “Capote” (UA/Sony Pictures Classics)
Frances McDormand in “North Country” (Warner Bros)
Rachel Weisz in “The Constant Gardener” (Focus Features)
Michelle Williams in “Brokeback Mountain” (Focus Features)
Some might shy away from McDormand, but a braise in Barolo will really bring the nuance of this performer front and center. If you can't find Barolo, a Cab will do, but remember, if you wouldn't want to drink it, you won't want to cook with it either!
Keener, on the other hand, will shine with a much simpler prep--a carpaccio makes a refreshing app. For the savvy chef, a Keener carpaccio can be a chance to show off--you can stick with a traditional presentation, drizzle with EVOO, add toasted pine nuts, or even grated lemongrass and Nam Pla* for an Asian accent!
When Amy Adams is in season, you want a simple preparation to allow the natural flavor to shine through. Consider lightly frying in tempura batter, and serving with a variety of dipping sauces. Use a candy thermometer to make sure the oil stays right around 350, and remember to blot on paper towels before serving.
If you're in the mood to indulge, Weisz is a good choice for an extra special Oscar night. Roast whole until the skin is crisp, and allow to rest ten minutes before serving. You can serve as is, or deglaze the pan with Grand Marnier for the traditional A L'orange presentation!
If you can't make it to LA for the festivities, why not bring a little bit of LA into your own Oscar party? Section Williams, fry and serve over waffles. It sounds like a strange combo, but that's how they do it in LA! Enjoy your preparations for the big night, and check back tomorrow for tips on how to serve the Best Actor nominees. Hope your're hungry!
*This traditional Asian condiment, also known as fish sauce, should be available in the ethnic food aisle at your supermarket. A Taste of Thai is a good brand.