A nice roast is still the top choice of many people who cook at home on New Year’s Eve.
It’s simple but elegant fare that makes a fitting end to a month or more of holiday celebrations.
Although standing prime rib is the roast of choice for traditional carnivores, in this day and age a roast may take different forms for different people.
And even for us traditionalists, prime rib may be a bit of a splurge — for our wallets and waistlines — come Dec. 31.
If you are up for splurging and like a nice cut of beef, prime rib is the way to go. A rib roast is a bunch of rib-eye steaks on the bone that have not been cut up. As such, this roast will beat out beef tenderloin for flavor every time. In fact, if you are cooking a rib roast — and one that may have set you back $20 or so a pound — you don’t want to smother it in herbs and spices or mess with it in any way.
A simple rub of salt and pepper is all that’s required of good prime rib. The recipe below, from Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton in “Canal House: Cook Something:
Recipes to Rely On” (Voracious), slowly roasts the meat to better preserve all of its natural juices. “This is one of those miracle recipes,” Hirsheimer and Hamilton wrote. “The gentle heat cooks the roast evenly throughout, which means beautifully rosy pink slices of beef.”
If you must dress up this roast a little bit — it is New Year’s Eve, after all — the authors suggest a simple horseradish cream that can be whipped up in about 5 minutes.
For something equally elegant and flavorful but lighter, try slow-roasted salmon. This is a good compromise choice when meat lovers and meat abstainers sit down to the table together. Though much lighter than beef, salmon still has substantial fat and flavor to feel almost hearty — and it goes great with some red wines, especially pinot noir.
This recipe comes from Michael Symon, known to TV audiences from “The Chew” and the Food Network’s “Iron Chef.” Symon includes this recipe in his new book “Fix It With Food” (Clarkson Potter), in which he offers recipes to help people dealing with inflammation and autoimmune issues.
Salmon, with its high levels of healthy Omega-3 fats, makes Symon’s list of Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients.
“This isn’t your typical salmon — or fish — recipe,” Symon wrote. Much like Hirsheimer’s and Hamilton’s beef roast, the salmon is cooked slowly for the ideal texture. It is glazed with a simple combination of honey, rice vinegar, mustard, lime, ginger and parsley.
“The goal isn’t crispy skin accomplished in a screaming-hot skillet, or gently charred and smoky flesh cooked over charcoal, but rather succulent, buttery salmon enveloped in slightly sweet and tangy glaze,” Symon said.
If you want to go lighter and perhaps even healthier than salmon, Symon also has a nice recipe for roasted stuffed zucchini. The recipe has a Mediterranean flair with its combination of zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, thyme and Parmesan.
Homemade sourdough croutons help make the dish filling, but it also would go well with a side of roasted potatoes or even a simple pasta.
The zucchini could even serve as a vegetable side — cut into smaller portions — with the rib roast or salmon.
Alone or in combination, the stuffed zucchini makes an elegant presentation fitting for a holiday meal.