Good food and the holiday season go hand in hand, and there is remarkable variation in the types of foods families serve at this time of year, depending on their traditions, heritage, and individual preferences. For example, some families make a scrumptious, spiral-sliced ham or beef tenderloin the focal point of their holiday meal. Others essentially serve “Thanksgiving redux,” with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other traditional favorites returning for a delectable encore. Still others take their inspiration for their holiday repast from the sea. In fact, seafood, in one form or another, graces a great many tables in the US and around the world at holiday time.
Whether you’re laying the groundwork for a traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes or you’re just considering serving a seafood-themed meal this holiday season, you might want to give these tantalizing recipes a try:
Smoked salmon in cucumber cups
2 medium cucumbers, about 1 inch diameter
6 ounces smoked salmon
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 Tbs. lime zest
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
Peel cucumber; cut into 3/4-inch slices; using tiny spoon or scoop, form cucumber cup by scooping out seeds, leaving some flesh in base of cup; set aside.
In medium-size bowl, flake smoked salmon, discarding skin and any bone; blend in sour cream, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and cayenne pepper to taste.
Mound salmon into cucumber cups; sprinkle lightly with a few grains cayenne pepper; garnish with additional lime peel strips, if desired.
Makes 24 appetizers.
Grilled seafood salad
Juice of 1 lime (optional)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Seafood and mushrooms:
1/2 pound fresh sea scallops, 10 to 20 count size
1/2 pound fresh tail-on shrimp, 21 to 25 count size
1 (6-ounce) package sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tbs. chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, and thyme)
1/2 cup olive oil
12 cups fresh mixed baby greens
1 cup baby grape tomatoes
1 medium cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, cut in julienne strips
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut in julienne strips
1/4 cup shredded carrots
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Whisk together marinade ingredients in shallow dish. Add seafood and sliced mushrooms; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Combine all vinaigrette ingredients except oil in a blender or food processor. Process on high speed until the mixture is well blended. With the motor running, carefully pour in the olive oil in a steady stream. Set aside.
Spray grill pan or saute pan with no-stick cooking spray; heat to medium high heat. Remove seafood and mushrooms from marinade; discard marinade. Grill shrimp and scallops 2 to 3 minutes per side or until seafood is cooked through and has browned highlights. Remove from pan and set aside. Add mushrooms; grill 4 to 5 minutes, turning once. Remove from pan.
Arrange salad ingredients on a medium platter. Top with grilled seafood and mushrooms. Drizzle dressing as desired over the salad. Top with the Parmesan cheese if desired.
Italian seafood pasta
1 lb. spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced thin
1 onion, sliced thin
1 16-oz. can plum tomatoes
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 Tbs. capers
1/2 lb. peeled medium shrimp
1/2 lb. scallops, halved
Salt and pepper
Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet, and cook the garlic and onion until softened but not browned.
Dice the tomatoes and add to the pan with the juice from the can, the oregano and capers; cook until about half the tomato juice has evaporated.
Dice the shrimp. Add to the skillet with the scallops, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes, or until the shrimp turns white and is no longer translucent.
Drain the spaghetti and add to the skillet; stir over medium heat for 1 minute.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Cod with tomato cream sauce
1-1 1/4 pounds Pacific cod or tilapia fillets, cut into 4 pieces
3 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup white wine
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
Season fish with 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic and 1 teaspoon thyme; cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes and the fish to the pan; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the fish is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the fish to a large plate; keep warm. Whisk cream and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pan, along with the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Divide the fish and sauce among 4 shallow bowls.
Makes 4 servings.