New Year's is the last chance to celebrate in style before the "diet" resolutions kick in.-Champagne and rich foods will be put into the back of the cupboard for a while...at least until Super Bowl or Valentine's Day!-Here are three main dishes, fit for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.

Chicken Breasts in Champagne

-? This combination of "classics' is extravagantly delicious

4 whole chicken breasts halved

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup cognac

3 tablespoon unbleached flour

2 teaspoon dried tarragon

3 1/2 cups champagne

1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream

-Sprinkle the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper.- In a medium sized Dutch oven melt the butter over medium high heat.-Brown the chicken breasts a few at a time on all sides about 10 minutes.- Remove and set aside.

-Pour the cognac into the pan, warm it, and flame with a match.- When the flame subsides, stir in the flour and tarragon.- Cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.- Gradually whisk in 3 cups of the champagne.- Return the chicken to the pan.- Cover and simmer until the chicken is tender about 45 minutes.

-Remove the chicken to a warm serving plate.- Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup champagne and the cream.- Cook the sauce over high heat until reduced and slightly thickened.- Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.- Serves 6.

Salmon With Lentils

? The crisp crust on this salmon gives it it's delicious taste and good looks.- Make sure your pan is very hot before you add the salmon.

-1/2 pound green lentils

1/2 cup good olive oil, plus extra for the salmon

2 cups chopped yellow onions

2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

1 1/2 cups chopped carrots

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoon good red wine vinegar

4 (8 ounce) center cut salmon fillets, skin removed

-Place the lentils in a heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water.- Set aside for 15 minutes then drain.

-Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.- Add the celery, carrots, chicken stock and tomato paste.- Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.- Add the vinegar and season to taste.-

-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

-For the salmon, heat a dry oven proof saute pan over high heat for 4 minutes.- Meanwhile, rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops very liberally with salt and pepper.- When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoning sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for 2 minutes, until very browned.- Turn the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked rare.- Serve with a mound of lentils on each plate and place a salmon fillet on top.- Serve hot.

Rack of Lamb Persillade

? Persillade is a French term for the combination of minced fresh parsley and garlic- added to a dish near the end of cooking.- This rack of lamb is easy entertaining and the "persillade" gives it extra flavor.

-2 racks of lamb

Good olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs

2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place both racks of lamb in a roasting pan, fat side up.-Rub the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.-Roast the lamb 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the "persillade."- Place the parsley, garlic and butter in a bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until finely minced.-Add the bread crumbs and lemon zest and process until just combined.

-Take the lamb out of the oven, quickly press the "persillade" on top of the meat covering it completely.- Return it immediately to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.

Take the lamb out of the oven and cover with foil.-Allow it to rest 15 minutes, cut in double chops and serve.

-Serves 4 to 5 people.

-Here's to 2007 and remember your resolutions!

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.