This was quite a week of feasting. Looking back on the week, I am happy with the menu decisions. I think they blended well and made good use of the summer bounty we’ve been enjoying here in Vermont.
If I was to cook all five courses in one day, for one huge dinner, I would definitely need to prepare as much as possible ahead of time. I would boil the linguine early in the morning (as I did for our dinner) and prepare the peppers and corn salad after that. The arugula, radicchio and fennel could be sliced, assembled and put into the refrigerator early in the day. Wash and trim the green beans to be ready for the steamer. This would leave the grilling of the chicken and fish and the last minute preparation of the sauce for the chicken. The only real problem would be the pears, even with lemon juice they may turn brown if left too long. However, since they are roasted, that should not be too much of a problem.
Depending on the amount of guests you have, or if they are vegetarians, I would grill twice as much chicken as the recipe calls for. We grilled one-half chicken breast for two people and we had a lot of left over pasta, not much chicken. I think one whole breast for two people is a better amount. If you are serving folks who do not eat chicken, this recipe could be made vegetarian style by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and serve it in the style we did; add the chicken to the pasta and then add the sauce, just leave the chicken off the plates for those that do not want it.
I would plan on at least five hours for this fête, giving my guests time in between courses for walking about the outdoors (if weather permits) or milling about to give their stomachs a chance to appreciate the wealth of food. I would also change the order of food; Appetizer of Roasted Peppers, Goat Cheese and Chibatta Bread as an amuse–bouche, then the Grilled Tuna with Corn Salad as an appetizer. The Arugula, Fennel & Radicchio Salad followed by the Grilled Lemon Chicken. I would also serve a cheese plate with the Roasted Pears for those that would prefer a lighter desert than the pears or to accompany the Roasted Pear dish.
The wines would be; Prosecco followed by an Albarino to accompany the Roasted Peppers. A Pinot Noir Rosé from Southern France or Spain to go with the Tuna and an Italian Pinot Grigio to go with the Lemon Chicken. Barbera is my choice to pair with the Arugula, Radicchio, Fennel Salad and I would go with the Saturne to go with the Roasted Pears.
Let me know if you’re ambitious enough to take on this project!