Josh Capon knows how to entertain with food—he’s the executive chef and partner at five popular restaurants in the city, including Lure Fishbar and the Bowery Meat Company. He’s also a diehard New York Giants fan—though for this Super Bowl, you’ll find him rooting for the Carolina Panthers.
Capon and actor Jerry O’Connell recently partnered up to cook game day recipes at an event in SoHo hosted by JCPenney. The chef dispensed plenty of sound advice on how to prepare for the big party.
Do the prep work ahead of time as much as possible. “You don’t want to be cooking all day,” he said. For example, marinate meat a day or two before, then put it in the freezer until the day of the party. Don’t use salt or acidic ingredients like lemon or lime in the marinade—salt sucks out the moisture, while the citrus will “cook” the meat, like a ceviche.
What to Cook
Capon likes to incorporate classic dishes from the competing teams’ home cities into the party. One year, he made gumbo and jambalaya when the New Orleans Saints went up against the Indianapolis Colts.
For this Super Bowl, he suggested making North Carolina’s famed barbecue, as a nod to the Panthers.
Make variations of dishes that can cater to different kinds of eaters. For example, you can make Cuban sandwiches and a gluten-free version by skewering ham, Swiss cheese, and pickle spears together. You can also use lettuce wraps instead of bread.
For chip dips, include celery sticks or jicama for people who want to eat healthy.
On the Day
First, don’t put out all the food at once, Capon said. Set out the food like a multicourse dinner, with the appetizers like chips and dips out during the pregame; some more substantial finger food, like small sandwiches and chicken wings, after the first quarter; and the main course during halftime.
For meat, season generously, and use a cast iron grill pan—it can cook at high temperatures and deliver those char marks. You want to hear the meat sizzle and see the smoke—it’s evidence you’re sealing in the juices and creating that delicious caramelization.
Finally, keep this in mind as you draw up your invitation list: Don’t let the party get too crowded. “People are there to see the game. Make sure everyone can watch it,” he said.
Roasted Filet Mignon Cheesesteak with Caramelized Onions, Gruyere, and Dijonnaise
- 1 piece beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
- 4 red onions
- 1 pound gruyere cheese, sliced
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 loaves Italian or French bread
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Salt and pepper
Season filet with salt and pepper. Sear in a hot pan on all sides and place in a 400-degree oven until medium rare. Set aside and let rest. When rested, slice into thin slices.
Mix Dijon and mayonnaise in a small mixing bowl.
Slice red onions and sauté over medium heat until caramelized and season with salt and pepper.
Slice bread lengthwise into 8-inch pieces or leave whole. Spread both sides evenly with Dijonnaise, placed the sliced meat on the bread, top with a thin layer of onions and cheese. Wrap in aluminum and place back in oven, or on a panini press until toasted and cheese is melted.
(Recipe courtesy of Josh Capon and JCPenney)