For Christmas Eve, our tradition is to serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
This year, my parents and one of my sisters are in town. We were joined by our neighbor Ron.
As the name implies, the meal is composed of at least seven seafood dishes. Thus, a great excuse to pull out the full china settings and go for fancy table supreme!
Since my father is allergic to soft shelled seafood, this year’s feast included oysters, squid salad, clams, mussels, scallops, sole, and freshwater bass.
The first course was oysters on the half shell. More specifically, we picked up a dozen Kumamoto oysters as the fishmonger indicated they were the best of the three available oysters.
Now, I had no idea we were having oysters until I was handed an oyster knife and told that I would need to shuck the oysters! I’ve never shucked an oyster in my life. Beyond being very tasty, the Kumamoto oysters are apparently one of the more difficult to open (some of the damned things have a remarkable resemblance to a rock).
So, a challenge and a learning experience. By the end of it, I was starting to actually gain some competence. And, more importantly, I didn’t stab myself once! No blood, even!
And, yes, they were truly a delicious oyster!
For the first course of the actual sit-down meal, Christine made a scungilli salad.
We didn’t have scungilli (sliced conch), so Christine made it with squid instead.
Lightly blanched squid served with mint, italian parsley, lemon juice, minced garlic and a touch of parmesan cheese.
Next were steamed mussels and clams.
I minced a bunch of garlic and scallions which were then sauteed in rice oil with a touch of olive oil. To this I added chopped basil and thyme. In went about a cup of white wine and, once at a boil, the mussels and clams were added.
The lot was left at a rolling boil for about 5 minutes.
Served with a crusty sour dough bread for mopping up the delicious liquid.
For the next dish, I pan seared scallops.
I basically did the same recipe I have used before.
Additionally, though, I deglazed the pan with white wine and then drizzled the boiling hot result over the scallops covered in freshly grated parmesan cheese. This melted the cheese and added a bit of a delicious gravy to the dish.
For the main course, we served two different styles of fish.
This is stuffed sole that my mom made. It contained finely minced red pepper, green pepper, scallions (including tops), garlic, and celery that was sauteed in butter. That was then thickened with butter, flour, and white wine. To this Mom added heavy cream just prior to pulling off the stove. Once off the stove, Mom added finely chopped parsely and bread crumbs. An egg, worcestesire, paprika and some salt were then stirred in.
This was then wrapped in sole, tied with a scallion top, and baked at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or so.
The results were every bit as good as it looks. The sole was moist and tender with delicious veggies inside.
Along with the sole, Mom made a whole freshwater bass roasted with veggies. This style of preparation is common on the Cayman islands. Instead of pumpkin — Cayman squash — she used a butternut squash from my garden.
The result is a moist and flaky fish that is flavorful throughout.
All in all, an amazing meal enjoyed with the family and a friend!