Thursday, December 24, 2009

Feast of the 7 Fishes

Christmas Eve is my favorite meal. We had dinner at my sister's house.

We started off with Homemade Pasta and Fish Sauce.

Next they served the Lobster Tails and my favorite dish that my brother-in-law makes, Stuffed Calamari. Wow.

Here is the recipe-
For the sauce saute garlic in olive oil, add crushed tomatoes. For the stuffing, saute onions in olive oil and butter. Add parsley, crab meat and bread crumbs. Stuff the squid and put the squid and tentacles in the sauce and cook. Fantastic.

Next was the main course. Flounder with a Lobster Meat and Bread Crumb topping. Seafood Polpettes. Bacala Salad 2 ways. And rounding of the meal was my favorite vegetable, Broccoli.

Ralph out did himself this year with the Flounder. He sauteed onion and celery in olive oil and butter. Added the lobster meat and then the breadcrumbs until it had the consistency 0f a stuffing. Grease a baking pan. Place the fish on the pan and sprinkle it with salt and pepper and put the stuffing on top of the fish and bake.

The Bacala was used in the salads. One was spicy and one was sweet. I prefer the hot (spicy) salad. Some people refer to it as bait but that only means there is more for my plate!

The Seafood Polpettes are my contribution to the meal. I fried them outside on the deck this morning, I hate the smell of fried foods in the house. Yes it was cold but at least it was not snowing.

The recipe is from Biba's Italian Kitchen.

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1/2 pound medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound sea scallops
2 eggs, lightly beaten 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiana cheese
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs, I used Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups plain bread crumbs, I used Panko bread crumbs
Oil for frying, I used a vegetable oil

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until it is lightly golden and soft, 4 to 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer onion to a bowl and let cool.

Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp and scallops and cook until golden on all sides, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer the fish to a bowl and cool.

Place cooled fish and onions in the bowl of a food processor and chop them into fine pieces (Do Not Puree Them). Put the mixture into a large bowl and add the eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, parsley and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Mix everything well with a wooden spoon or with your hands until the ingredients are thoroughly blended. If mixture seems to soft add more cheese or bread crumbs (I usually have to add more of each to get the consistency correct).

Take 1 heaping tablespoon of the shellfish mixture, shape into a small ball, then flatten it lightly between the palms of you hands. When all the polpette have been shaped, dip them into eggs and coat them with the bread crumbs.

Heat 1 inch of oil in medium skillet, I use and electric skillet, to medium heat. When the oil is very hot, lower a few polpettes at a time into the oil with a slotted spoon. Cook until they are lightly golden, about 2 minutes, then turn them gently and cook until the other side until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels and drain. Serve piping hot. I reheat them in the oven because I make them earlier in the day. I also put some in the freezer for a quick meal.

The wine was a nice Riesling. It had a nice hint of pineapple.

Dessert was of course Christmas cookies. This is a photo of my sister's cookies. I always enjoy her cookies more then mine. She makes the best lemon bars.

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