New Year's Eve with Marc Murphy: Stress-Free Entertaining at Its Best
While New Year's comes at the end of a long holiday season, it's surely no less important than the celebrations leading up to it — especially for chef and Chopped judge Marc Murphy. "Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are, as far as I’m concerned, the two holidays that I find are the best," the restaurateur behind Landmarc, Kingside and Ditch Plains restaurants told FN Dish recently, "because you don’t have to buy any presents. There’s no pressure of buying presents for anybody." According to Marc, "It's nice to concentrate on the food and the beverage on Thanksgiving and on New Year’s," and quality eating and drinking are indeed what Marc focuses on for the New Year's Eve party at his house. From holiday treats like caviar and oysters to make-ahead lasagna, dressed-up cocktails and next-day frittatas, Marc revealed to FN Dish how he rings in the new year with his family and friends — and even shared his go-to Negroni recipe. Read on below to hear more from Marc in an exclusive interview.
What does New Year’s Eve looks like in your home with your family? How do you celebrate?
Marc Murphy: We usually go to Long Island; I have a house out there and we fill it up with a bunch of friends — however many people can stay there as possible — and we just sort of hang out and eat and drink and party. Everyone brings over their kids, and the kids stay up late and jump up and down on the beds and watch the ball drop and scream and yell and run around the house so late, and it’s a lot of fun.
What are a few of your favorite eats and drinks to serve on New Year's Eve?
MM: Good champagne. I think caviar, smoked salmon … those are good to have. And usually for the main course I like to make something you can make the day before. I usually like to also make lasagna — better if you make it the day before anyway and you heat it and it’s just as good.
The make-ahead lasagna is a great timesaving trick. What else can fans get away with doing ahead of time, before the party starts?
MM: I think what you really want to do for New Year's Eve is that you really don’t want to work, as the host. That’s why with the caviar, all you’re doing is warming up little toast points or little blinis, which you can buy. You know I’m always about less work the day-of, so if you can do everything in advance, I think that’s the most-important part of New Year's Eve: not to be stressing about working for dinner. That’s why it’s good to have, if you’re going to do a sit-down, do a big casserole — do something that you can put out and put a big salad with it and call it a day.
Champagne is a New Year's mainstay, of course, but what other cocktails do you like to mix up for the party?
MM: I always make either Negronis or I make Boulevardiers, which is the same recipe as the Negroni, but you take the gin out and I actually put bourbon in its place. And I describe it as a Negroni with a little sweater on for the cooler weather. (Editor's note: Scroll to the bottom for Marc's party-ready Negroni recipe.)
After a night of celebrating, how do you approach brunch on New Year's Day?
MM: There’s some champagne left over and O.J. in the fridge, so you can make some mimosas. You should always have a good Bloody Mary recipe around, because people love Bloody Marys in the morning. And usually my favorite thing to do in the morning [is to] start putting together some frittatas with whatever is lying around. If I have some leftover vegetables, some cheeses or whatever. And I’ll whip up frittatas with all the leftovers. … A frittata can just sit there pretty much half the morning and it’ll just get eaten slowly. People get up and they go work out — you know those crazy people — and then they’ll have it. … I find, especially at my house, I don’t like to have a breakfast that has to be eaten hot or whatever. It’s good to be eaten hot or cold or room temperature. You know, just graze. [And] it’s always good to have some sliced meat around like prosciutto or some nice sort of a mild salami for breakfast.
You mentioned the Bloody Mary. If you had to put a twist on the classic and make the ultimate Bloody Mary, how would you do it?
MM: You know what we do, David Lombardo who’s our beverage director [for Benchmarc], he has an amazing Bloody Mary mix: obviously horseradish, a little bit of hot sauce in it, black pepper. And what he does, he finishes it off with a touch of stout beer, which gives it a little bit of what I call "terroir" — a little bit of earthiness to it — and obviously vodka. And we garnish it with celery, bread and butter pickles, olives, all that fun stuff. That’s the direction I usually go.
Pour all over ice in a rocks glass.