As I wrote last year, I host an interactive dinner party for my law firm each summer. The party has several purposes: first, it’s a party, and we’re supposed to have fun. Second, it’s what we call a “summer clerk event,” meaning that it is designed to allow us lawyers to interact socially with the handful of law students we have working for us over the summer. These students typically work at two different law firms during the summer before their final year of school, so you want to make sure they have a good time while learning about how the firm operates. This is the 10th time I’ve hosted this event for my firm, and the demand always exceeds my capacity of 30 seats.
The other thing that this dinner accomplishes is that it puts people in situations a bit different than at a cocktail party or at the office. I have everyone help with the meal in some capacity. Some folks prep. Others cook. And the ones with a good eye get to plate. The ones who don’t have much skill in the kitchen serve, clear, and clean. No different than in a restaurant, right?
Anyhow, with the economy where it is, there was a question of whether we’d still have the dinner, but we decided to continue it — with a couple of minor changes. First, there will be no “luxury” items, such as truffles, humongous scallops shipped from Maine, or exotic mushrooms from the Pacific Northwest. We’ll cut back on the wine budget, too, focusing on “high value” options (i.e., wines costing less than 10 bucks a bottle).
With that in mind, I came up with this draft menu, which is subject to change based on my whims and the availability of ingredients the day of the event (August 8). Comments and suggestions are appreciated:
Oak-grilled pizze: Mushroom and taleggio cheese; Tomato, buffalo mozzarella, and oregano; Tomato, garlic, prosciutto, fontina
Heirloom tomato soup with pesto, parmesan croutons
Mixed greens, roasted figs, goat cheese, spicy candied pumpkin seeds, aged balsamic
Orechiette with caramelized garlic, cannelini, broccoli
Fresh paparadelle with lamb ragu, mint, olive
Oak-grilled salmon with roasted asparagus, lemon thyme vinaigrette
Peach and raspberry cornbread cobbler, lemon buttermilk ice cream