Billy Oliva's Reimagined Holiday Favorites

Delmonico's executive chef Billy Oliva gives holiday traditions a makeover.

Surf and Turf: Lobster Stuffed Prime Rib


10 pounds of boneless or bone-in standing prime rib roast

(You can ask your butcher to debone and butterfly ready for preparation)

For Lobster Newberg Stuffing:

3 (1 1/2-pound) live lobsters

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

2 tbsp, plus 1 tsp medium-dry sherry

3 tbsp, plus 1 tsp of brandy

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/4 tsp of freshly, grated nutmeg

Cayenne to taste

4 large egg yolks, beaten well

Toast points as an accompaniment


Position roast on work surface with bones upright. With a long, sharp knife, start at the top and work down, cutting a five- to six-inch crevice between the bones and the meat. Be sure to keep the bones attached. Gently pry the bones away from the meat, creating space. Fill the crevice with the lobster stuffing, making sure to pack firmly. Press the bones in to compact stuffing. Tie the bones back in place with three to four loops of kitchen string. Bring the string completely around the roast to secure it and to keep the stuffing in place.

Into a large kettle of boiling salted water plunge the lobsters, head first, and boil them, covered, for 8 minutes from the time the water returns to a boil. Transfer the lobsters with tongs to a cutting board and let them cool until they can be handled. Break off the claws at the body and crack them. Remove all lobster meat, place on a board and chop it into ¼ pieces. In a heavy saucepan cook the lobster meat in the butter over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, add 2 tablespoons of the Sherry and 3 tablespoons of the brandy, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer the lobster meat with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add the cream to the Sherry mixture and boil the mixture until it is reduced to about 1 cup. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the remaining 1-teaspoon Sherry, the remaining 1-teaspoon brandy, the nutmeg, the cayenne, and salt to taste. Whisk in the yolks, cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it registers 140°F on a deep-fat thermometer, and cook it, whisking, for 3 minutes more. Spread the lobster stuffing throughout the center of the rib roast.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat a large roasting pan over two burners at medium-high heat. Place roast in hot pan and cook 6-8 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Set wire rack in pan, and then set roast on rack. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Place roast on lower rack of oven and roast about 2-1/2 hours, or until a meat thermometer registers 130°F. Let it stand for 20 minutes before slicing. This recipe serves 8 people. Due to the nature of this recipe, it adjusts the number of servings in multiples of 8 only.

Twice Baked Potato Stuffed with Cream Spinach Gratin


2 large boiled potatoes, scooped out then deep-fried till brown (4 pieces in total)

4 tbsp unsalted butter (extra for the pan)

1 cup shallots

2 tsp chopped garlic

2 tsp original Tabasco brand pepper sauce

1 tsp nutmeg

4 tbsp all purpose flour

2 cups half and half

2 boxes of 10 oz frozen chopped spinach (water removed)

1 cup parmesan

1 cup crispy bacon (finely chopped 8 slices, bacon lardons)***

1 cup panko bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste


Start with preheating the oven to 375°. In a pan place the four fried pieces of potato and set a side. In a large saucepan, add 4 tbsp of butter and add shallots. Cook to soften for about 3 minutes. Then add chopped garlic, Tabasco sauce and nutmeg. Let it cook for about 2 minutes, then add 4 tbsp of flour to the shallot mixture and cook for approximately 2 minutes. Add half & half and reduce until it slightly gets thick. When desired thickness is reached, remove from heat and add chopped spinach, ½ cup left over scooped out potato and 1 cup of parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and transfer this mixture to a casserole dish. In a small bowl, mix the remaining Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, crispy bacon and 2 tbsp of melted butter. Sprinkle this mixture over the spinach. Stuff mixture in each of the 4 potatoes equally. Bake in the oven until the crumb mixture is golden brown and cream is bubbling.

For Crisping Bacon:

Finely Chopped Bacon Slices put in a medium sized sauté pan, cook over low heat stirring continually until a deep brown color is reached. At that point with a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan and place on a plate lined with a paper towel until needed.

Baked Alaskan Fruit Cake

Serves 8


2 pints of your favorite flavor ice cream

Fruitcake (store bought or homemade), cut into 1 inch-thick rounds

1 cup of your favorite flavor fruit jam

For Meringue

5 egg whites

1 tsp of vanilla

1/2 tsp of cream of tartar

2/3 cup sugar


Slice fruitcake into 1-inch sheets. With a 3-inch pastry cutter, cut 8 individual rounds, trimming all edges for a clean round appearance. Spread jam evenly on each round of fruitcake.

For Meringue

Beat together egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gradually add in sugar beating after each tablespoon is added. Set aside.

Scoop ice cream onto center of each cake round. Completely cover ice cream in meringue sealing all edges between ice cream and cake. For decoration, swirl the meringue to make peaks. Transfer cake with ice cream to a baking sheet. Bake at 500 degrees for 2 minutes until golden.

Serve immediately.