Oscar-Worthy Meal, On A Shoestring!

Odds are you'll be watching the Oscars from the comfort of your living room, so why not prepare a special Oscar dinner for the occasion?

On The Early Show Saturday Edition, young Aaron Deal accepted the "Chef on a Shoestring" challenge of making an Oscar-themed, three-course meal on our meager, recession-busting budget of $35.

Deal, 26, is already executive chef at the Tristan restaurant in Charleston, S.C., and a true phenom in the culinary world. He's a semi-finalist for the Rising Star Chef award presented annually by the James Beard Foundation. (The winner will be announced next month.)

Deal is all about using the freshest ingredients available; he's even gone so far as to ban most processed products from his kitchen! And his attention to quality hasn't gone unnoticed: He's quickly become the talk of Charleston.

He also threw his chef's hat into The Early Show Saturday Edition's "How Low Can You Go" competition, seeing how the totals of our Chefs on a Shoestring stack up. The one with the lowest total gets to return to prep our blowout holiday meal at the end of the year.

Among Deal's dishes Saturday: a variation of Chicken Oscar using spinach, ricotta and prosciutto ham. Traditional Chicken Oscar is made with asparagus and crab meat. And for dessert, he made his grandma's red velvet cake, in honor of the red carpet.


  • Caesar Salad
  • Stuffed Chicken Breasts
  • Red Velvet Cake


    Oscar Chicken: The classic dish Veal Oscar is reputedly named for a Scandinavian king. This version uses chicken instead of veal, and Deal stuffs the chicken with prosciutto rather than crab meat.

    Prosciutto: Pronounced "pro-shoot-toe," it's the Italian word for ham. In English, the word is almost always used for an aged, dry-cured, spiced Italian ham that's usually sliced thin and served raw.

    Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of butter and lemon juice using egg yolks as the emulsifying agent, usually seasoned with salt and a little black pepper or cayenne pepper. It's a French sauce, so-named because it was believed to have mimicked a Dutch sauce. Hollandaise sauce is well-known as a key ingredient in Eggs Benedict.

    Red velvet cake is a type of rich and sweet cake, with a distinctive, dark, red-to-bright red or red-brown color. It's most popular in the Southern United States, though known in other regions. The most typical frosting for a red velvet cake is a butter roux icing (also known as a cooked flour frosting). Cream cheese butter cream frostings are also popular.


    Caesar Salad

    2 Hearts of Romaine
    1/4 pound Parmigiano
    1 Baguette
    3 tablespoons Olive Oil
    1 teaspoon Black Pepper
    2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

    Caesar Dressing

    3 Egg Yolks
    6 Anchovy Filets
    1 Garlic Cloves
    1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
    2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
    1 pint Canola Oil
    2 teaspoons Black Pepper, Ground
    1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt


    In a food processor add all ingredients except the oil. Process until smooth consistency. With processor on, in a slow steady stream add oil until fully incorporated. Store in air tight container under refrigeration.

    Preheat oven to 350ºF.

    Using a bread knife, slice the baguette very thin on a strong bias. Rub the pieces with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

    Place on a baking sheet and toast in oven until golden and crisp.

    While bread is toasting, use a vegetable peeler and shave the desired amount of cheese.

    Using a mixing bowl toss romaine leaves in a small amount of the dressing being sure to coat them well. Remove the bread from the oven and plate the salad immediately.

    For more recipes, go to Page 2.