An Oscar viewing party should be the culinary antithesis of a Super Bowl gathering. Where the latter focuses on big, bold, messy flavors tied together with a whole lot of fat, the Academy Awards call for a more refined dining experience (even if both events are spent on the same couch in front of the same television).
So let’s reverse engineer this. To help you get in the mood, you’ll want to drink something with bubbles. Sparkling wine is the obvious choice, though don’t forget the sparkling cider for those abstaining. But you don’t have to sip them straight up. Sparkling wine and cider are delicious when doctored.
For either, consider puréeing watermelon, then pouring the purée into ice cube trays and freezing. Drop one cube into each glass, then top with the sparkling beverage. Or for something more wintery, grab a jar of amarena cherries, an Italian treat of sour cherries packed in syrup. Drop one into each glass, then fill and sip.
With the drinks sorted, we need something that works with bubbles. Fried food is perfect, but who wants to deep-fry at home?
So for our refined fare, we opted for an array of crostini. We created toppings that can be spooned, scooped or smeared onto whatever bases you like. Assemble the toppings, offer up an assortment of breads, crackers and crisps, then let guests help themselves while you focus on the awards (and the cocktails).
To make your party prep even easier, all of these toppings can be assembled up to a day ahead of time. Many of them take 30 minutes or less to assemble. The flavors will be better if you let the toppings come to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
The other happy companion to bubbles is Asian food, such as a simple teriyaki chicken that is served in lettuce wraps. The recipe comes together quickly, but has wonderful savory, yet light, flavors that work perfectly with your cocktails.