Category Archives: Christmas Eve- Feast of the Seven Fishes

Christmas Eve menu

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to post a recap of the 2022 Christmas Eve dinner at my home and if you are interested in any of the photos below, all the recipes are in the files.

I hope you had a fabulous, safe, and wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, family, and friends.

Now we prepare for 2023 and I hope all of your goals and dreams come true.

Thank you for being a part of my blog and I plan on posting more fun tablescapes and recipes in the new year…

Please ask your family and friends to join and they will never miss a post.

One more week to the end of the year- hard to believe how fast time is passing us by and I wish all of us a prosperous and happy, healthy future

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

***************************************

Now on to the menu recap:

I changed up the ordinary shrimp cocktail appetizer by putting both shrimp cocktail and some fried calamari in a paper French fry cup that I had in the house and made it a charcuterie cup and added a mini bottle of tabasco sauce. The cocktail sauce was served tableside with lemon wedges.

Our next course is always linguine with seafood sauce

This year’s seafood sauce was made with crab, clams, tuna and stuffed calamari…

The finished 2nd-course dinner plate

Now the additional seafood dishes to complete all seven required fishes. We had 1. shrimp, 2. clams, 3. mussels, 4. calamari, 5. scungilli, 6. crabs, 7. tuna in the stuffing, and a bonus of #8. anchovies in the seafood sauce.

Stuffed shrimp with crabmeat.

Seafood salad served chilled with calamari, shrimp, scungilli, celery, and olives in a lemon and olive oil dressing.

Mussels and Clams Fra Diavolo with a spicy Calabrian chili addition.

Baked clams oreganata

Fried Calamari

I did not take a pic of our vegetable side dishes and they were cold broccoli salad with garlic and lemon & fried artichoke hearts.

I hope your Christmas Weekend was all you thought it would be and you made some treasured new memories.

Mussels and Clams Fra Diavolo (Christmas Eve)

Hi everyone,

Click on photos to ENLARGE and then hit the back arrow to return to the post.

With Christmas Eve only two days away here is another dish we usually serve on Christmas Eve. It is another favorite of mine (I have so many favorites for this holiday, I can’t choose which one I love the most.)……

Mussels and Clams Fra Diavolo

You can make this as hot and spicy as you can handle. I use Calabrian chili peppers to bring on the heat and if that is too spicy for you, substitute it with red pepper flakes. That will give you just enough heat without having too much spice. I love spicy so I use the Calabrian chili peppers…..

Ingredients:

For the Sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small shallot, diced

1/2 medium yellow onion, minced

2 basil sprig

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tsp of crushed Calabrian chili peppers (or more if you like the heat)

Kosher salt

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon tomato paste

One 28-ounce can of tomato puree or crushed tomato

 Black Pepper

 For the Mussels & clams * – see Cook’s note

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup minced shallot

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 cup dry white wine

1 tbsp butter

3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded

2 DZ. Cockles or little neck clams, scrubbed and cleaned

Chopped parsley, for serving

Crusty bread, for serving

Cooks Note:

How to Clean Clams

  1. Prepare a large bowl. To purge clams of sand, fill up a large bowl with a mix of cold water and sea salt. …
  2. Soak the clams. Let the clams soak in the salted water for 20 minutes to an hour. …
  3. Remove the clams from the water. …
  4. Scrub the clams clean. ...
  5. Rinse the clams.

How to Clean Mussels

Place your mussels in a colander or bowl in the sink and run them under cold water. Rinse them to get rid of any debris or seaweed on their outer shells. If you feel any muddy spots, rub them off under the water, but you’re very unlikely to with farm-raised mussels. Mussels sometimes have small, fibrous “beards,” which you should pinch off.

Instructions:

Make the Sauce first…

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, shallots, basil, oregano, Calabrian chili peppers, and a pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, add the minced garlic and continue to sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and sauté for a minute to toast the tomato paste.

Add the white wine and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree and bring just to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced, about 20- 30 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Mussels and Clams

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering, and add 1 tbsp. of butter. Add the shallot, garlic, and crushed red pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and stir in the tomato sauce from step 1 and bring to a simmer.

Stir in the clams first (they take longer to open), cover, and cook until they start to open then add the mussels, cover again and cook until the mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes; discard any mussels & clams that do not open- they are dead.

Season lightly with salt, then transfer the mussels and sauce to a platter. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve right away with crusty bread.

These are the Calabrian chili peppers I use...

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Seafood Salad (Christmas Eve )

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

Click on photos to ENLARGE and then hit the back arrow to return to the post.

Now that my Christmas cookies are baked, wrapped, and delivered, it’s time to start preparing for my favorite holiday of the entire year…

Christmas Eve, the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Every Italian home prepares multiple seafood dishes for La Vigilia (Christmas Eve)  – a day of abstinence.

In the Catholic Church, this prohibits the consumption of meat, so La Vigilia was ALL fish, NO meat. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is celebrated in Italy from Rome on down to the south and my family comes from Naples and Bari.

This seafood salad is always a part of the dinner selections. I don’t have the exact recipe my parents made so this recipe is adapted from “Italian Food Forever” by chef Debra Mele and I have always admired her talent. I have tweaked it over the years and here is the end result. I hope you enjoy it.

Simple to make and it tastes better, in my opinion, if it is made a few days ahead of time so the flavors can marry.

Seafood Salad – serves 6

Ingredients

3 Cups White Wine

5 Bay Leaves

2 Cloves Garlic, crushed

2 Lemons

1 Pound Calamari, cleaned and cut into rings

1 Pound Medium Shrimp, cleaned and deveined

1 Pound Scallops

1 Cup Black Olives

Chopped celery

Dressing:

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

3 Large Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced 

1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley

Dash Red Pepper Flakes

Salt & Pepper To Taste

Directions:

 In a stockpot, combine 3 quarts of water, the wine, bay leaves, and crushed garlic. Slice the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the mixture. Drop the lemons into the pot. Bring the mixture first to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low.

First cook the shrimp, cook for 2 minutes, and remove them from the pot. Cook the calamari for 1 ½ minutes and remove it from the pot as well. If you are cooking scallops, cook them in the same manner for 2 minutes. Mix the seafood together and set aside.

 Place the seafood in a bowl and add the chopped celery. Add the dressing ingredients and mix well. Cover and let marinade for a minimum of 12 hours. Just before serving, adjust the seasonings, and add the black olives if you are using them. Serve at room temperature.

If you want to include Octopus in this salad, you will need 3 cups of cooked Octopus chopped into 2-inch pieces. 

If you are cooking octopus, add it to the pot after cooking the scallops (once all the other seafood is removed from the pot), and cook it for about 45 minutes to an hour or until it is tender.
Remove it from the pot and let it cool.
Remove the skin and suckers, and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
Mix the octopus with the other ingredients.

***************************************

Here is a sample of My Christmas Eve Menu and I think I go over the seven fish requirement.

Appetizer:

Shrimp Cocktail 

1st course:

Linguine with Fish sauce (consisting of crabs, clams, mussels, scungilli (conch), shrimp, tuna, calamari (squid), and scallops).

2nd course:

broiled salmon

stuffed calamari

fried calamari

coconut shrimp

baked clams

mussels in white wine and butter

crab cakes

seafood salad 

and the two most traditional fish dishes

Baccala (dry salted cod fish) with potatoes in a tomato sauce

&

fried eel with a sweet & sour sauce

Sauteed broccoli rabe with LOTS of garlic and lemon

3rd course:

Fruit and nuts – including roasted chestnuts

Dessert:

demitasse

Variety of Christmas cookies -including pignoli

Panettone

Italian bow tie cookies topped with honey and sprinkles (similar to Struffoli)– sorry I don’t know the name. It was my grandmother’s specialty.

Yes, dinner lasts for hours and hours and every bite is so delicious.

When my husband and I were dating (he is not Italian), his first Christmas Eve with us was very overwhelming. Now, after 37 years, he is accustomed to the menu and all the courses; and he even has a few favorites.

After this huge fish dinner, we went to Midnight Mass, came home to sausage and peppers (you could eat meat after midnight), and then we opened all of our gifts. (only the children opened gifts on Christmas morning).

Buon Natale !

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Saffron Fregola with Clams, Mussels and Shrimp…

Hi Everyone,

Hope all is well. Tonight I made a Lenten meal of clams, mussels and shrimp in fregola ( Sardinian pasta) with saffron and white wine. One of my favorite dishes and I posted it before with a different selection of seafood ( see directory for original post Dec/2017). Any combination works well.

I wanted to repost the recipe for all of you who need a few new ideas for Lenten meals. Enjoy every bite.

I purchased the Fregola at an Italian deli but it is also sold on Amazon if you can’t find it locally. This is my favorite brand and they are sold in a 3-pack on Amazon for $28.40.

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as we do. The Fregola is a toasted pasta and it tastes like a nutty couscous.

Saffron Fregola with Seafood

A bit of culinary exotica, fregola is a type of pasta from the Italian island of Sardinia. The more common Israeli couscous may be substituted. Serve this hearty stew with a refreshing butter lettuce and pear salad and plenty of crusty bread for dipping.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 lbs. mussels- scrubbed and debearded
  • 2 lbs. clams- scrubbed ( I used cockles)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup fregola (Sardinian couscous) or Israeli couscous
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Crush the saffron in a small bowl and add the wine. Set aside.

In a large, heavy pot over high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. When the pan is very hot, add the shrimp and sear for 1 minute per side (do not cook all the way through). Transfer to a bowl.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, the onion and garlic to the pot and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the saffron mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the fregola and stir to combine, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the clams and mussels, discarding any that do not close to the touch. Cover the pot tightly and steam for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and quickly add the shrimp. Cover the pot tightly again and continue to cook just until the clams & mussels open and the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Discard any clams that failed to open. Ladle the stew into warmed bowls, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2011).

**********************************************

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Seafood Recipes

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with your family and friends.

My holiday was wonderful because my son was able to come for the holiday for the first time in four years. (He is usually working).

I followed the Italian Christmas Eve tradition and had the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”. This has to be my favorite meal of the year!

I have been getting a lot of requests for the recipes on my personal Facebook page and decided to post all of the recipes that I use to the blog, so you can all enjoy them.

Some recipes are so old that I don’t remember where I got them from, some are a combination of my recipe tweaks over the years and some are fairly new from various websites that I will give credit to when I know the author. 

************************************

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

I wish you peace, happiness, love, health and many blessings in 2019!

Stay well, 

Diane

*********************************

Thank you for visiting my blog and please ask your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

*****************************************

Crab Meat Stuffed Shrimp

(I do not remember where I got this recipe).

Photo Dec 25, 8 16 42 PM STUFFED SHRIMP

2 dozen jumbo shrimp
1 med onion finely chopped
1/2 med green pepper diced fine
1/2 cup of celery finely chopped
1/2 cup of butter melted and divided
1 lb. of lump crab meat *
1 large egg beaten
3/4 cup of cracker crumbs (saltine or Ritz – your choice)
1/2 cup of mayo
1 tbsp. mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp ground red pepper

paprika and lemon for garnish

*Cooks Note: I use Phillips lump crab meat in the black can. Sold in Costco.

Peel shrimp leaving tails in tack, cut slit almost through back of shrimp using paring knife. open shrimp to flatten and place in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray or drizzled with olive oil and set aside.

In a skillet, cook onion, pepper, and celery and 1/4 cup of butter, stir often and cook until soft.

Combine crab meat, egg, cracker crumbs, mayo, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, and red pepper in a bowl. Stirring gently add in the cooked veggie mixture and mix well.

Top each shrimp with approx. 2 to 3 tbsp. of crab meat filling…and sprinkle with paprika and drizzle remaining 1/4 cup of butter over top of stuffed shrimp.

Bake uncovered at 350 for about 30 minutes and then put under the broiler for about 5 minutes till tops are nice and browned …basting with pan juices while broiling, serve with lemon

************************************

Saffron Fregola with Seafood

(This recipe is courtesy of Williams Sonoma)

Photo Dec 25, 8 24 45 PM FREGOLA

A bit of culinary exotica, fregola is a type of pasta from the Italian island of Sardinia. The more common Israeli couscous may be substituted. Serve this hearty stew with a refreshing butter lettuce and pear salad and plenty of crusty bread for dipping.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb. medium scallops, tough muscles removed
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup fregola (Sardinian couscous) or Israeli couscous
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. clams, scrubbed
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cooks Note: I add mussels and cockles

Directions:

Crush the saffron in a small bowl and add the wine. Set aside.

In a large, heavy pot over high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. When the pan is very hot, add the shrimp and sear for 1 minute per side (do not cook all the way through). Transfer to a bowl. Add the scallops to the pot and sear for 1 minute per side, also without cooking all the way through. Transfer to the bowl with the shrimp.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, the onion and garlic to the pot and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the saffron mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the fregola and stir to combine, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the clams and mussels if using, discarding any that do not close to the touch. Cover the pot tightly and steam for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and quickly add the shrimp and scallops. Cover the pot tightly again and continue to cook just until the clams open and the shrimp and scallops are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Discard any shellfish that failed to open. Ladle the stew into warmed bowls, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4.

*************************************************

Cod with Tomatoes and Herb Butter

(This recipe is courtesy of –Author: Katya @ https://www.littlebroken.com)

Photo Dec 25, 8 30 18 PM COD WITH TOMATOES

INGREDIENTS

Tomato and Herb butter

  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1-pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped herbs (basil, parsley, chives, cilantro), plus extra for garnish

Cod

  • 2 – 2¼ pounds fresh cod fillets, cut into 6-8 oz. portions*
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Tomato and Herb Butter

  1. In a small saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté shallot and garlic for 4-5 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, sea salt, red pepper flakes, and sugar. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-17 minutes or until tomatoes break down and release their juices and liquid has almost evaporated.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter and fresh herbs. The herb butter should be velvety and thick. Cover and keep warm while the cod is baking.

Cod

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle the bottom of a casserole dish lightly with olive oil. You want a dish big enough to fit the cod in a single layer with some room around or you will get too much juice during baking.
  3. Pat dry the cod really well and place in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper to taste but be generous. Drizzle the top lightly with olive oil and squeeze of fresh lemon. I used about ½ lemon. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 12-18 minutes or until easily flaked. Baking time will depend on the thickness of the cod.
  4. Remove from the oven and evenly spread the tomato butter over the cod. Cover back with aluminum foil and let stand at room temperature for 1-2 minutes before serving. You just want all the flavors to come together.
  5. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs, if desired, and serve immediately.

NOTES

*I used about 2¼ pounds of cod that I was able to cut into six (6-8 oz.) individual portions
**This cod serves really well with cooked rice, quinoa, or crusty bread to soak in all the juices.

Serving size: 1 (6-8 oz.) cod fillet with butter sauce

************************************************

Stuffed Calamari

(This recipe is mine from a combination of different recipes over the years).

Photo Dec 25, 8 44 34 PM (1) STUFFED CALAMARI

  • 1 lb. calamari tubes & tentacles (purchase squid already cleaned)
  • 2 ½ cups Italian style breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • ¼ cup fine diced parsley
  • ¾ cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 cup milk & 1 egg (lightly beaten) OR 2 eggs
  • ½ cup olive oil OR LESS
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 oz each: diced shrimp * chopped calamari * crab meat
  • ½ cup chopped onion sautéed in 2 tbsp butter
  • Splash of white wine
  • GenovaTonno tuna in oil (optional- gold can)
  • Pointed toothpicks
  1. Sauté chopped onion in 2 tbsp butter and set aside
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, cheese, 1 cup milk, 1 egg, lemon zest, diced fish, splash of white wine, salt, pepper, onion and butter mixture and olive oil.
  3. The mixture should me slightly mealy but hold together if you squeeze it in the palm of your hand. (a little loose- needs more breadcrumbs).
  4. Take a small amount of stuffing and fry to test for seasoning before stuffing the tubes.
  5. Stuff each calamari tube halfway full, using your fingers to stuff the mixture well into each calamari tube. (When the calamari cook, they blow up, so you can’t fill them too full of stuffing or they will split open).
  6. Close each calamari tube with a toothpick
  7. Add to the fish sauce in the last ½ hour of cooking

Alternate directions is to bake calamari in tomato sauce in a separate baking pan.

**********************************************

Seafood Salad

(This recipe is courtesy of Deborah Mele from Italian Food Forever. I have admired all of her recipes for years. She is fabulous.)

Photo Dec 25, 8 44 53 PM (1) SEAFOOD SALAD

Antipasti di Mare ~ This is a wonderful Christmas Eve appetizer but is tasty year round. This seafood salad often contains octopus as well as shrimps, scallops, and calamari, but if you prefer, you can certainly leave the octopus out.  The octopus requires a much longer cooking time, so if you choose to include it, you will need to add an additional hour or so to your preparation time.

Serves 6

3 Cups White Wine

5 Bay Leaves

2 Cloves Garlic, Crushed

2 Lemons

1 Pound Calamari, Cleaned And Cut Into Rings

1 Pound Medium Shrimp, Cleaned And Deveined

1 Pound bay Scallops 

1 Cup Black Olives

Chopped celery

Dressing:

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Lemon Juice

3 Large Garlic Cloves, Thinly Sliced Br

1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley

Dash Red Pepper Flakes

Salt & Pepper To Taste

In a stockpot, combine 3 quarts of water, the wine, bay leaves, and crushed garlic. Slice the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the mixture. Drop the lemons into the pot. Bring the mixture first to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium low.

First cook the shrimp, cook 2 minutes and remove from the pot. Cook the calamari 1 ½ minutes and remove from the pot as well. If you are cooking scallops, cook in the same manner for 2 minutes. Mix the seafood together and set aside.

Place the seafood in a bowl and add the chopped celery. Add the dressing ingredients and mix well. Cover and let marinade a minimum of 12 hours. Just before serving, adjust the seasonings, and add the black olives if you are using them. Serve
Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2002

*******************************************************************

Coconut Shrimp and Fried Calamari

Photo Dec 25, 9 27 12 PM CALAMARI AND COCONUT SHRIMP

Fried Calamari

(Recipe courtesy of  theforkbite.com).

Ingredients

Calamari:

  1. 1 lb. calamari, bodies sliced into 1/2-inch rings, tentacles left whole
  2. 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  3. 1 cup flour
  4. 2 tsp paprika
  5. 2 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp black pepper
  7. 1 tsp garlic powder
  8. 1 tsp cayenne
  9. 1 tsp red chili flakes
  10. oil for frying
  11. chopped parsley for garnish
  12. lemon wedges to serve

Lemon aioli:

  1. 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  2. zest and juice of 1 lemon
  3. dash of Tabasco
  4. salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Prep 15 minutes * cook 45 minutes * ready in 1 hour

  1. Prepare lemon aioli – whisk together mayo and tabasco- season with salt and pepper
  1. Soak calamari in buttermilk for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F.
  3. Combine flour with seasonings from paprika – red chili flakes.
  4. Dredge calamari in seasoned flour, tossing evenly to coat.
  5. Carefully drop a handful of the calamari into the hot oil.
  6. Cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
  7. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a paper lined baking sheet.
  8. Repeat with remaining calamari.
  9. Sprinkle parsley on top. Serve with lemon wedges and lemon aioli.

Notes:  Why buttermilk instead of eggs? The acidity in the buttermilk helps keep the calamari tender and helps create a lighter, crispier batter.

So, adding eggs or breadcrumbs is not necessary.

****************************************

Coconut Shrimp

(This recipe courtesy of a friend, Marcia Haynes Bohle).

Coconut Shrimp

1/2 tsp salt

 2 ½ C flour divided

1 tsp white pepper

1/2 C cornstarch

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg

1/2 tsp minced garlic

 1 ½ C sparkling water

1 tsp paprika

 2 C panko bread crumbs

2 ½ C shredded coconut

Vegetable oil for frying

1 lb. Raw Shrimp- peel/de-vein, leave tail on.

Directions:

In a gallon zip lock bag: 1/2 C flour & 1/2 C cornstarch

In a shallow mixing bowl: 1 C flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning, 1 egg, 1 ½ C S. Pellegrino or other sparkling water.

On a foil lined jelly roll pan: 2 C panko bread crumbs, 2 1/2 C shredded coconut, 1 C flour (toss together).

Peel & de-vein the shrimp. Leave the tail on.

Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and place in the zip lock bag with flour & cornstarch. Shake to coat.

 In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, garlic, spices, egg, sparkling water. This should make a batter, just a little thinner than pancake batter. Holding by the tail, dip each shrimp into the batter an onto the jelly roll pan which has a mixture of bread crumbs, coconut and flour. Coat well with the coconut mixture and chill the breaded shrimp for 30 min.

Deep fry for 2-3 min in vegetable oil. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sweet & sour sauce, sweet Thai chili sauce or whichever sauce you like. I’m guesstimating the measurements so feel free to tweak it any way you like.

***************************************************

Baked Clams Oreganata

(This recipe courtesy of CookingItalianComfortFood)

Photo Dec 25, 8 36 15 PM BAKED CLAMS

  • 18 little neck clams with reserved clam juice
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil plus more to drizzle over clams
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

lemon wedges for garnish

Unless you have worked at a clam bar, shucking clams is not an easy task. Here is an easy way to get the clams opened and save your fingers from shucking.

 Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. After you washed and scrubbed the clams, place in a single layer on a Focus Foodservice Commercial Bakeware 13 by 18 Inch 18 Gauge Aluminum Half Sheet Pan
Place in the oven for only 2-3 minutes. This will be enough to loosen the clams up so they will be easy to open.

Take the clams out of the oven and with a butter knife or other thin knife without teeth, pry open the clams. I open the clams over a bowl to make sure I catch all the juice that comes out, you will use it in the stuffing. Open up the clam, get rid of the top shell, and loosen the clam in its shell by sliding the knife under the clam.

In a medium bowl mix together the bread crumbs, oregano, parsley, garlic, grated cheese, 2 tablespoons of reserved strained clam juice, olive oil, and black pepper.

Take the clam and hold it over the bowl with the stuffing. Top the clams with this mixture, but don’t pack down the bread crumbs. Drizzle with some olive oil.

Place them under the broiler until the clams are done and the bread crumb is crispy and golden, about 4-5 minutes. Serve with the lemon wedges.

********************************************************

Shrimp Cocktail

(This recipe courtesy of Food Network)

Photo Dec 24, 7 12 56 PM SHRIMP COCKTAIL

Court Bouillon:

  • 10 cups cold water
  • 2 medium carrots, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, quartered
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Shrimp:

  • 1 pound medium or large shrimp, in the shell, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Cocktail Sauce, recipe follows
  • Lemon wedges

Directions

Put the water, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, lemon, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer, set a cover on top slightly ajar, and cook for 10 to 30 minutes.

Drop the shrimp into the liquid and turn off the heat. Cook the shrimp, stirring occasionally, until they curl and turn pink, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes for medium shrimp, 3 minutes for large ones. Drain and cool to room temperature. Peel the shrimp and remove the vein along the curve of the shrimp, if desired. Refrigerate if not serving right away. If refrigerated, bring the shrimp to room temperature 20 minutes before serving.

To serve put the cocktail sauce in a medium bowl and surround with the shrimp, or loop the shrimp over the edge of an individual cocktail glass and top with the sauce. Garnish with the lemon and serve.

Optional Tip: To de-vein the shrimp before cooking, hold a shrimp between the thumb and forefinger with the rounded side of the shrimp upward. Place the pointed end of a wooden skewer at the junction of the second and third segments of the shrimp shell, about 1/8-inch down from the top. Gently push the skewer through the shell and then lift up to remove the vein.

Cocktail Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
  • 4 teaspoons prepared horseradish, or to taste, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce, to taste

Combine the ketchup, lemon zest and juice, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Add hot sauce, if desired. Mix well, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

**********************************************

Crab Sauce (usually served with linguine for Christmas Eve)

(This recipe is mine combined from various recipes over the years).

Photo Dec 24, 7 41 49 PM LINGUINE WITH CRAB SAUCE

Ingredients:

2 shallots diced

5-6 cloves of garlic (or more) – diced

Olive oil

Parsley- roughly 3 tbsp- finely chopped

1 small can of anchovies with oil

6 cleaned blue claw crabs (your fish monger will clean them and just rinse them when you get home).

2 cans San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes – blended in the food processor

Red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper – to taste

1 cup clam juice

1 cup white wine

Tomato paste (optional)

Directions:

Coat the bottom of an 8 qt pot with olive oil and heat on medium

Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and sauté for 1-2 minutes until translucent.

Add the garlic and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes until golden brown – be careful not to burn

Add one small can of anchovies with their oil and stir to dissolve –

(this does not make the sauce taste fishy. I add it in my white clam sauce as well).

Once dissolved add the parsley and fresh ground black pepper, salt and some red pepper flakes to taste and sauté

Now add the crabs and sauté for about 5-7 minutes until the claws become red. Mix well with the parsley mixture to get the oil and garlic in the nooks and crannies of the crab.

In the meantime, put two cans of san Marzano whole peeled tomatoes in the food processor and blend.

Add the tomatoes, wine and clam juice to the crabs.

Sauté on medium for approx. 20 minutes with the lid a jar. After 20 minutes if the sauce seems too watery add 1 tbsp of tomato paste and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.

Simmer on low until you prepare your pasta (usually linguine for this dish al dente- 7 minutes.-– (I cook the pasta two minutes shy of being done).

Add your pasta to a large pot or saute pan and add the crab sauce, cook for two minutes so the sauce can be absorbed by the pasta. 

Serve with the crabs, or make the crabs a second course

*************************************************

And to end the meal, a platter of Christmas Cookies

Photo Dec 26, 10 06 03 AM CHRISTMAS COOKIES 2018

(recipes posted for the cookies in the following link)

https://dishingwithdiane.com/2017/12/22/christmas-cookies-recipes-2017/