Making the perfect party platter

January 14, 2009 4:06:42 PM PST
Making the perfect party platter doesn't have to take a lot of time or be a huge headache. Hugh Groman of Greenleaf Platters shares a few tricks to making a perfect dish that can survive the entire party without being refrigerated!

Salad of Dungeness crab, fennel, grapefruit, avocado and frisée in a Maisonette sauce

  • 1 pound fresh Dungeness crab meat (picked over to remove all shells)
  • 2 large grapefruit or pomelos, (peel cut off and segments cut out without pith)
  • 3 medium avocados
  • 1 bunch frisee lettuce (darker green parts trimmed off and discarded, pale parts soaked in cool water to remove all sand)
  • 3/8 pound fennel, cleaned, shaved, lemon juice added
  • 1 teaspoon allepo pepper or smokey paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Maisonette Sauce (recipe below)

    Maisonette Sauce

  • 3/8 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon catsup, or to taste
  • brandy, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • grapefruit juice, optional to taste

    1. Up to one day ahead: Make Maisonette sauce, supreme grapefruits or pomelos, trim and clean frisee thoroughly

    2. The day of your event: Wash bulbs of fennel and trim off green parts. Slice fennel into thin slices and dress with excess juice from grapefruit to prevent browning. Slice avocado and dress generously grapefruit juice, salt and pepper

    3. An hour before your event: Lay out frisee and fennel, avocado, grapefruit and crab, sprinkle with allepo pepper or smokey paprika and drizzle with Maisonette sauce. Store in refrigerator or a cool place. Serve within 2 hours.

    About Greenleaf Platters:
    Greenleaf Platters specializes in high quality party platters featuring fresh, seasonal contemporary food made with local organic (wherever possible) ingredients for events for 20 to 1000 guests. An extension of boutique catering company Hugh Groman Catering, Greenleaf Platters is an environmentally conscious service that offers convenient online ordering and a flat fee for delivery, set-up and next day pick up of platters and compostables in all Bay Area counties within 90 minutes drive from their kitchen in Berkeley, CA.
    Phone: (510) 647-5165

    About Hugh Groman:
    Hugh Groman's love for simple, vibrantly flavored food and attention to detail has made him one of the leading caterers in the Bay Area. Established in 2001, Hugh Groman Catering has catered events both large and small throughout the Bay Area including events honoring notables such as Nancy Pelosi, Sally Ride, Arianna Huffington, Harry Belafonte and Gloria Steinem.

    Born in Lafayette, California, Groman, 36, grew up in a family passionate about food and entertaining. The youngest of four, he remembers helping his parents and siblings with kitchen prep and cooking from the age of five - almost burning down the house while making potato chips at the age of seven! Drawn to the food and hospitality business, he held restaurant jobs throughout high school and college at Yale where he majored in psychology. After graduation, while living in New York and "checking careers off the list", Groman heard of an opening at the recently opened Gramercy Tavern and interviewed with Tom Colicchio who gave him a job in the kitchen. Over the next year, Groman worked in garde manger and mastered and moved up through the stations, ultimately moving to the casual Tavern part of the restaurant which focused on food prepared in the wood-burning grill. Afterwards, he took an extended culinary tour of the United States where he staged in restaurants across the country including Tourelle in Lafayette during a visit with family.

    He returned to New York in 1997 where he started a catering business out of his apartment kitchen. In 1999, he opened Boerum Hill Food Company on Brooklyn's now burgeoning Smith Street. Boerum Hill Food Company was an immediate success thanks to Groman's delicious, made-from-scratch food and cordial service. Eventually, he decided it was time to move back to the Bay Area and sold the business in 2001.

    He launched Hugh Groman Catering because it allowed him to be creative, project-based and work directly with clients. Hugh Groman Catering is a certified green business by the County of Alameda. In July 2007, he launched Greenleaf Platters, an online service delivering high quality | contemporary platters delivered | (510) 647-5165 Hugh Groman Bio page 2 of 2

    party platters throughout the Bay Area. He applies his creativity and love of food when creating menus and recipes and counts among his influences; Tom Colicchio for his aesthetic, commitment to freshness and simplicity and aversion to "tortured food" and Danny Meyer for his business acumen and unwavering dedication to high quality in all areas of his restaurants. As Hugh Groman explains, "I believe what sets us apart is a real commitment to using the highest quality ingredients and a refusal to compromise on any level. I think I have a very good understanding of the psychology of food and what people really love to eat, and also of how they want to feel in terms of when they throw a party, when they are guests at a party, and after they leave a party. We craft our menus with care, keeping in mind the logistics of the event, ensuring that at the moment the guests bite into our food, they say, "Wow."

    Hugh Groman lives in Berkeley, California and in his spare time enjoys playing with his three miniature schnauzers, rock climbing, reading Entertainment Weekly and watching TV shows too embarrassing to mention.