A Quick Cocktail Party for 50

First - there's no such thing a quick party for 50. But, you might find yourself quickly planning such a party, with little time to spare. That's where I found myself last week. A dear friend called and asked if I could make a few appetizers and salad for a 40th birthday party. I said "sure" quickly, then asked how many people were to be served. 50.

Twenty people or so is just a good sized family gathering. 30 is a party. 50 is a catering job. The total volumes really do affect choices of dish to serve, greatly extend prep and cooking time, and may even drive some changes in technique choices.

Here's the menu:

- "Everything Bagel" Cured Salmon with Goat Cheese on Savory Bagel Chips
- Chunky Gazpacho with Basil Oil and Tarragon Cream garnish
- Shrimp and Roasted Zucchini Brochettes with Bacon
- Caesar Salad with Rosemary Chicken-Drenched Croutons

Here are some quantities to consider:

11 pounds of shrimp
30 plum tomatoes
15 heads of romaine
10 pounds of yellow squash and green zucchini

And here are important techniques to use:

- Detailed planning for shopping and timeline
- Roasting in large hotel pans instead of pan-searing
- Always have something cooking in the oven (because in this menu you can)  while you are prepping other parts of the meal.
- 2 gallon zip lock bags, lots of plastic containers
- An assistant / gopher who can run to the store, do dishes and do simple prep tasks (quartering tomatoes, spinning lettuce, washing veg, ......)

No time was taken out to snap photos of these dishes......but then again, they were being loaded into bags and containers for transport, not presentation!!

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