A Seafood Christmas

My family always has a large gathering on Christmas Eve.  After that, we’re on our own.  This is not a bad thing because my husband enjoys creating our own Christmas feast.  For the last few years, we’ve had quite elaborate feasts.  This year, he decided to keep it simple and make lighter and healthier dishes.   Of course, simple is relative and light, healthy dishes are no less delicious!

Over two days, we ate several meals with seafood as the main dish:

  • Spaghetti with Langostino, Wild Manila Clams and Cherry Tomatoes (dinner)
  • Mesquite-grilled Octopus (lunch)
  • Mesquite-grilled Tiger Shrimp on skewers (lunch)
  • Sea Bass baked in sea salt (dinner)

For a side dish, we also made roasted Dutch potatoes with onions and rosemary.  For dessert, we had baked Panettone and melted vanilla ice cream on top.

It’s hard to pick a favorite but the grilled octopus was definitely a good surprise.  While we both have eaten good octopus, grilling it gives octopus a slight crunch and grilling with mesquite adds a pungent flavor.   

If you’re having guests, the seafood spaghetti al cartoccio and/or the sea bass baked under sea salt are impressive dishes.  “Al cartoccio” is simply taking the finished pasta and baking it in parchment paper for an additional few minutes.  You tie the parchment so that it is shaped like a small bundle and then serve individually or in one big bundle.  The sea bass is not at all salty, as the name might suggest.  Baking under sea salt is a way to steam the fish and keep it moist, much like aluminum foil would do.  However, it seems to add more flavor and guests will definitely be impressed if you break open the hardened sea salt in front of their eyes.  However, you cook an entire bass under the sea salt so you do have to clean it up for guests before serving.

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