Your Best Gourmet Picnic on Labor Day
Why do we like Labor Day? Because this holiday is always a pleasant added bonus to the first fall weekend? Yep, let’s count this idea. Why else?
Because Labor Day celebration is held all over the US to pay tribute to all working people, regardless of their professions, work experience, and spheres of activity. Right. Labor Day honors our application of knowledge and skills to the jobs we do, as well as our very desire to make a decent living.
Peter J. McGuire, or Matthew Maguire, or whoever was the initiator of the holiday in the late 19th century, definitely knew a thing or two about how to make workers feel their labor is respected and protected.
And here is one more great and impressively deep thought about the unfading popularity of Labor Day in our nation. It belongs to Samuel Gompers, the founder and president of the American Federation of Labor. Today it is better known as AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.
So, Samuel Gompers once famously noted that Labor Day was devoted neither to a certain person, nor to a conflict between people, even nor to a historical achievement. That is exactly what differs this holiday from the rest in our calendars. Each of us is a hero of the celebration.
So, this celebration must be special.
Whether you decide to spend the first Monday of September with the whole family at your favorite spot in the countryside, or you plan on gathering colleagues and go explore new landscapes, you are certainly going to throw a festive picnic.
No doubt, BBQ, potato salad, hamburgers and hot dogs are all must-haves. But what about adding a few new flavors to the menu? A few flavors that will make your Labor Day celebration so delicious and memorable.
Check out these gourmet picnic ideas and enjoy the delightful tastes of the fall 2018 with your dearest and nearest.
Pack Some Caviar
You can enjoy a few spoonfuls straight from the tin or jar. Or you can quickly make a stunning appetizer, while your significant others are busy with installing a grill or unpacking the rest of foods. A couple little canapés with sturgeon caviar or smoked trout roe will definitely become the best reward for what they did.
Your favorite caviar will be a worthy supplement to the festive picnic menu. Here are some tips on how to serve it at its best:
- Keep the tin or jar closed until all of you are ready to take pearl spoons and please your taste buds, or until you need caviar to make the morsels. If you are lucky to have a fridge somewhere near, you’d better keep the tin or jar in it.
- Speaking of pearl spoons, make sure you pack them together with the other utensils. Don’t use stainless steel or silver spoons. Caviar is sensitive to these materials: they may cause oxidization and change caviar’s flavor.
- To enjoy the original savor, consume the caviar within 60 minutes after you open the tin or jar.
- For two people a 1.5-2 oz. tin will be the best choice. But if you’re going to throw a picnic for a bigger bunch, opt for a 4-5 oz. tin to make everyone happy. You don’t want caviar leftovers, right?
Accompany the selected caviar with traditional latkes, blinis (pancakes) or canapés, and crème fraîche. Also, the unique tang of this delicacy will perfectly add to boiled eggs or boiled potatoes – the two most simple and wonderful picnic options.
Opt for Scrumptious Foie Gras
Let’s add even more luxury to your Labor Day menu! Yes, foie gras is going to play the main part on it. But this gourmet French delicacy is undoubtedly the one and only candidate for it.
If you and your picnic companions are true meat aficionados, ready foie gras morsels or foie gras mousse will turn your festive get-together into an unforgettable gastronomical experience. It’s your holiday, so why not treat yourself with another culinary masterpiece?
Both the savor and structure of foie gras make it a very “self-sufficient” food. It should be served with full honors. And it’s unlikely to make good friends with other equally flavorful choices.
Nonetheless, there are a few great ways to reveal even more beauties of foie gras. Let’s check them out:
- To preserve the original texture and fresh taste of foie gras, remove it from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Cut foie gras straight before you’re going to consume it, with a thin bladed knife, previously dipped in hot water and wiped well.
- Make sure you have enough foie gras so there won’t be any leftovers. If you prefer it as an appetizer, 1.5-2.5 oz. per person will make a great portion.
Serve foie gras with toasts or canapés. They will only highlight the smoothness of its texture and won’t have any impact on its authentic flavor. But if you still want to experiment, pair the delicacy with black truffles! It’s one of the most popular and successful gastronomical combinations, although both foie gras and black truffle have strong specific flavors.
Besides, you can try serving foie gras with nuts, dried apricots, or black cherry preserve. Just go for your best option and enjoy!
Add More Zest with Smoked Salmon
Are you looking for anything tasteful, light, and nutritious to include into the Labor Day menu? Besides, it must be something portable and quick-to-cook, right? Pack some smoked salmon fillets. These versatile guys will stand you in good stead.
If you are still responsible for preparing quick snacks, meant to initiate the beginning of the Labor Day picnic, slice the fillets, get some canapés, cream cheese and dill, and make some flavorful bites.
Instead of traditional canapés, you can use boiled eggs or cucumbers, cut in circles, as a “basis” for the appetizer. Or you can go even more creative and accompany sliced smoked salmon with avocado and some hummus.
The fragrance of smoked salmon doesn’t need commenting. But you should take it into account when packing the picnic foods:
- Transport it well-wrapped, in the cooler. But try to separate the fish from both meats and vegetables.
- When making the appetizers, use only a part of the fish – say, a half. (Just make sure that each of you will get a satisfying portion.) Wrap the rest well and put it back to the cooler. As soon as you see that the salmon morsels are going to disappear, make a new plate with the rest of the delicacy. Therefore, you’ll preserve the texture and flavor of the fish.
- If you have a whole fillet and want to slice it yourself, do it with a clean, dry knife, so the fish doesn’t absorb other flavors.
Make a Cheese Plate
So everyone can choose the cheeses they like and combine them with the breads, meats, veggies and fruit, olives, or spreads, or whatever you are going to serve. Cheese isn’t picky. It will taste equally wonderful with any other foods.
Actually, all types of cheese can go well for a picnic board. Here are some gourmet suggestions from Marky’s. Opt for your favorites:
- Parmesan and Pecorino Romano do stand out from the large variety of hard cheeses. They are crunchy. They are pungent. And they will play their own part on the cheese plate decently – both as starters and as desserts.
- Semi-hard Gruyere with its sweetish earthy and nutty tang will be a great choice if you like such original combination. If you add it to the cheese board, serve some mustard and nuts too. Even if none of your guests has ever mixed these flavors, their taste buds still will be pleasantly surprised.
- Yes, you can take your beloved Mozzarella with you! It’ll be a perfect semi-soft accompaniment. Pair it with grilled tomatoes and eggplants or with bacon and chicken. If you bring really much cheese with you, pack some peaches and berries too. Together they will make a delicious sweet treat.
- If you and your dearest are fair connoisseurs of soft cheeses, why not add a slice or two of Brie or Gorgonzola to the platter? Their creaminess and piquancy will harmoniously entwine with the flavors of the other foods, making the whole festive meal even more sumptuous.
Select the Best of Charcuterie
On Labor Day traditional BBQ goes without saying. But we know perfectly well that it takes time and effort to cook this fascinating culinary invention. So, while your family or company BBQ chef is making all the necessary preparations, a nice platter of deli meats can lighten your holiday mood and make the anticipation of the main course less tense.
Let’s see how to make the meat serving really impressive:
- Since the meats you want to bring are mostly smoked or cured and salted, wrap them well and keep them away from the other products, especially from fish. Again, a separate cooler will be a good solution.
- Make sure you have enough bread in reserve. Meat is quite heavy food. So pair it with baked goods and veggies.
- Try to estimate how much meat is enough to prepare a decent snack so that everybody feels happy but no slices remain on the platter. You’d better not serve it all at once. Keep the meats you don’t need at the moment in the cooler. They will preserve the smells and textures.
Marky’s Wish You Happy, Tasty, and Sunny Labor Day 2018!