Beautiful Beginnings

Photographs by John Lee Pictures for Onthemarc

If you’ve attended an event in Greenwich, chances are you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy Marc Weber’s creative and beautiful hors d’oeuvres. Marc is a staple on the charity circuit, impressing guests with OntheMarc Catering’s signature “starter bites,” as he refers to them—many an entire meal in one delicious bite (think Chicken and Waffles, Osso Bucco on Panisse, Steak Tostada).

Good news for the foodies among you, Marc recently released his first book, Beginnings: How the Party Started. It’s an impressive collection of recipes that’s equally suited for display on a coffee table as it is for guidance in the kitchen. The photography is stunning; the advice, anecdotes and tips useful and entertaining (pun intended); and the recipes, well, see for yourself. Here, we offer up a few of Marc’s cocktails and easy appetizers that are sure to whet your appetite for more.


CHAMOMILE SPARKLER

INGREDIENTS
Makes 1 cocktail

1 fluid ounce chilled Chamomile Honey Syrup (recipe follows)
5 fluid ounces chilled Prosecco

GLASS
stemless flute or champagne coupe (no ice)

GARNISH
lemon peel

DIRECTIONS
Add the honey syrup to a chilled champagne coupe. Pour in the Prosecco and rub the lemon peel around the lip of the glass. Squeeze the peel over the finished cocktail to release the lemon’s natural oils, and drop it into the finished beverage.

CHAMOMILE HONEY SYRUP
Makes ¾ cup

1 chamomile tea bag (Harney & Sons)
6 fluid ounces hot filtered water
3 tablespoons honey
1 lemon rind, peeled into strips

In a small saucepan, steep the chamomile tea in the hot water for five minutes. Remove the tea bag and add the honey and half of the lemon peels, reserving the other half for garnish. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for twenty minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.


TEQUILA ESPECIADO

INGREDIENTS
Makes 1 cocktail

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 lemon wedge
1 cup ice cubes
2 fluid ounces Chile-Spiced Apple Cider(recipe follows)
2 fluid ounces tequila
0.5 fluid ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

GLASS margarita or decorative rocks glass
ICE blended
GARNISH: apple wedge, chili salt rim

DIRECTIONS
In a shallow bowl, mix together the salt and chili powder. Rub the lemon wedge along half the rim of the glass. Dip the glass into the chili powder–salt mixture, allowing the salt to stick to the wet portion of the rim. Set aside.

Place the ice in a blender and add the spiced cider, tequila and lemon juice. Pulse to break up the ice and then blend until smooth. Pour into the rimmed glass and garnish with the apple wedge. Serve immediately.

CHILE-SPICED APPLE CIDER
Makes 1 ¾ cups

2 cups fresh-pressed apple cider
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 dried red chile, halved

Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for twenty minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool slightly, then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a bottle with a lid. Seal and refrigerate for up to two weeks.


SEARED BAY SCALLOP CEVICHE

INGREDIENTS
Makes 40 to 50 pieces

ROASTED CORN SALAD (MAKES 3 CUPS)
2 cups fresh sweet corn kernels
2 teaspoons salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
½ small red onion, finely diced
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup thinly sliced hearts of palm

SCALLOPS
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds bay scallops(80 to 100 total), shells removed and set aside
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS
ROASTED CORN SALAD
Place a rimmed baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and preheat to 425°F. In a medium bowl, toss the corn kernels with the salt and enough olive oil to coat them. Spread the corn in an even layer on the preheated baking sheet and roast for five to seven minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once the corn has cooled to room temperature, place it in a large mixing bowl along with the bell pepper, onion, lime zest and juice, cilantro and hearts of palm. Toss with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

SCALLOPS
Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add some olive oil and a handful of scallops. Sauté the scallops for forty-five seconds, add some lime zest and juice, season with salt and pepper and toss to flip the scallops. Cook for another forty-five seconds, then immediately remove the pan from the heat. Repeat with the remaining scallops.

ASSEMBLY
In each scallop shell, place 1 or 2 scallops (depending on size), about 2 tablespoons of the corn salad and a garnish of sliced scallions. Serve immediately.


SAMOSA ROLLS

INGREDIENTS
Makes 56 pieces

8 sheets rice paper
4 ounces pickled ginger
6 ounces snow peas, cut into chiffonade
3 serrano chiles, seeded and finely sliced on a mandoline

MINT YOGURT DIPPING SAUCE
2 cups plain, whole-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
0.3 ounce salt

POTATO FILLING
1 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, finely diced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

FRIZZLED ONIONS
3 quarts vegetable oil, for frying
1 small (12-ounce) yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cornstarch

DIRECTIONS
MINT YOGURT DIPPING SAUCE
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

POTATO FILLING
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the potatoes on a large, rimmed baking sheet and toss them with the coriander, cardamom, salt and oil. Roast for twelve to fifteen minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

FRIZZLED ONIONS
Heat the oil in your deep fryer to 300°F. In a large bowl, toss the onion with the cornstarch, then fry them for about three minutes or until light golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

ASSEMBLY
Wet a rice paper wrapper with hot water until just pliable. Lay it on a cutting board and add layers of potato, pickled ginger, snow peas and frizzled onion. Roll tightly. Cover with a damp tea towel and repeat with the remaining wrappers and fillings.

Cut each roll into seven equal pieces and garnish with a thin slice of serrano chile. Serve with the mint yogurt sauce on the side.

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