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Dec 19, 2012 6:55 PM by Jennifer English / Ian Cross

Let's Make a Meal: Feast of Seven Fishes

TUCSON - Today on "Let's Make a Meal," our food contributor Jennifer English stopped by with a dish perfect for the traditional "Feast of Seven Fishes."

Here's what she had to say:

The Italian tradition of serving seafood on Christmas Eve, call The Feast of Seven Fishes, had myriad references to the bible woven into and through each delicious course. I know some families serve more than seven course and some serve fewer. The one thing that is universal is that the number be an "odd" number. (My family rules allow some fish to make a second appearance later in the menu, others might disagree) And before any purists get mad, I want to talk about how borrowing traditions and making them have a "signature" to one's own family is ok. In fact it is encouraged. The important thing to me is that we have traditions for our family to pass down from generation to generation. You do not need to be from Italian Heritage to enjoy this one.

My own family has celebrated with the Feast of Seven Fishes number as long as I can remember. Here is my menu for 2012 which starts out with a few simple courses as appetizers before we get into the warm, soulful emotionally comforting Christmas Eve classics.

1. Calamari
2. Smoked Salmon
3. Caviar
4. Shrimp Cocktail
5. Dover Sole
6. New England Clam Chowder
7. Lobster Pasta: Penne in a lobster Sauce

The recipe we will do in the studio is for the Superb Shrimp Cocktail this is a Quantum leap forward from the ones we grew up with and so delicious it might become a regular weekly menu item for you. This is a recipe adapted by me from UK Chef Heston Blumenthal, one of the most respected and renowned chefs in the world today.

(Serve 4)

• 1/3 cup tomato ketchup
• 1/4 cup mayo + 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
• ¼tsp cayenne pepper
• 12 drops Worcestershire sauce
• 1 Tablespoon + (to taste) lemon juice
• Salt and black pepper
• 1 # cooked shelled shrimp
• 1 iceberg lettuce, finely shredded (use romaine with the ribs removed if you must)
• 1 avocado, peeled and diced

Combine the tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Add the shrimp to the sauce and stir to coat.
Place the shredded lettuce on the bottom of four glasses or glass bowls, followed by the avocado, then a generous spoonful of prawns and sauce.

If you miss the horseradish flavor, I offer some on a side dish, but the shrimp should be the star not the horseradish heat. This very fancy festive dish is a hit.


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