Feast of the Seven Fishes

A Chrtismas Eve tradition in my family. Any seven fishes will do, this is just one list:

1. Stuffed Calamari

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of squid, approximately 1½ inch diameter
  • 4 cups (30oz) bread crumbs
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 5 green onions, finely chopped
  • 10 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • chopped seafood (shrimp, crabmeat, & the squid themselves.)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup cooking sherry
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon EACH oregano, basil, garlic salt, crushed bay leaves and black pepper

Directions:

  • Remove the tentacles from the calamari, leaving only the body cavity
  • The Stuffing: In a large bowl, combine bell pepper, celery, onions, and garlic. Add 1/3 of mixture to breadcrumbs, egg, and chopped seafood. Add cheese to preference. Mix by hand until you get a thick moist mixture, add milk if necessary. Stuff this mixture into the squid tubes and place them in a 9 x 15-inch baking dish.
  • Now, take the stuffing and fill each calamari tube (tight but not too tight) and place in an olive oiled greased casserole dish. Lay the stuffed calamari in rows and feel free to layer.
  • Heat oil in large skillet and sauté remaining pepper, celery, onion, and garlic mixture. Add tomato sauce, sherry, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic salt, bay leaves, and pepper. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Pour sauce over stuffed squid.
  • Cover with foil and a lid and place in an oven that has been pre-heated to 350 degrees for about an hour (until bubbly).

2. Seafood Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound of imitation crab, small shrimp and baby scallops.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups milk, use a little cream for extra decadence.
  • 1 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper or to taste
  • 1 (16 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10 ounce) package spinach (thawed and drained)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)
  • 1 cup mozzarella (grated)
  • 1 box lasagna noodles (cooked)
  • 1 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)
  • 1 cup mozzarella (grated)

Directions:

  • Heat the butter in a pan. Add the seafood and sauté until cooked, add the garlic and sauté for few minutes or until tender. Do not burn! Set the seafood aside. Add the white wine and lemon juice, deglaze the pan, and simmer to reduce by half. Add the seafood and toss to coat.
  • Melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Add the flour and stir while cooking for a few minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and simmer until it thickens. Remove from the heat and mix in the parmigiano reggiano, salt and pepper.
  • Mix the ricotta, spinach, egg, parmigiano reggiano, mozzarella and a cup of the white sauce.
  • Pour white sauce over the bottom of a baking dish. Add a layer of noodles. Add a layer of half of the cheese mixture. Add a layer of noodles. Add a layer of all of the seafood and pour a cup of the white sauce over it. Add a layer of noodles. Add a layer of the remaining cheese mixture. Add a final layer of noodles. Pour layer of white sauce over the noodles and top with the parmigiano reggiano and mozzarella.
  • Bake in a preheated 350F oven until bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top, about 45-60 minutes.

3. Baccalà (salted cod)

Before you start refrigerate and soak the fish for around 72 hours, to make sure all the salt is out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of Baccalà
  • Basic tomato sauce
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh parsley and basil

Directions:

Once the Baccalà is fully unsalted cut it into bit-sized chunks – I prefer 1 by 1 inch squares. Roll in flour. Mince garlic and add to oil. Heat oil and add Baccalà – browning on both sides. Add pre-heated basic tomato sauce. Let cook for approx 1 hour at simmer.

4. Marinated Eel

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pounds of eel
  • 3 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 6 ½ cups of olive oil
  • Fresh basil and parsley

Directions:

Mince/crush garlic cloves and mix with sugar and balsamic vinegar. Bring mixture to a boil and allow it to cook until it has reduced to approx. 2 cups . Remove from heat. Heat 6 cups of olive oil in a Dutch oven. While oil is heating, cut eel into bite-sized chunks. Season eel with salt and pepper. Roll eel in flour. Once oil is ready drop 3-4 pieces of eel into oil. After browning (should take approx 5-6 mins) drain on a plate with papertowels. Once all of the eel is done, place in large bowl. Pour the reduced vinegar mixture over them to marinate. Let cool and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Remove at time of serving and drizzle oil and herbs. Allow to reach room temperature before serving.

5. Whiting

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of whiting
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • Red pepper flakes

Directions:

Generously coat disposable aluminum pan with olive oil. Add minced garlic and whiting-whole or sliced whichever is preferred. Sprinkle generous amounts salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil all over fish. Lightly add red pepper flakes for spice. Cover pan with foil and add to 375 degree pre-heated oven. Cook for 1 hour

6. Deep Fried Oysters

Ingredients:

  • 2 dozen oysters
  • 3 cups of bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Cayenne pepper

Directions:

Beat 2 eggs and leave standing in bowl. Dip oysters in egg. Roll oyster in bread crumb/cracker meal. Sprinkle with cayenne. Dip in egg again. Roll into ball. Place in deep fryer and remove after rises to top. Place on plate with paper towel to drain oil

7. Linguine with Clam Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of little neck clams
  • 1/3 cup of virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large cans of tomato sauce
  • Pinch of sugar and parsley
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound of linguine
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Basic tomato sauce

Directions:

Make basic tomato sauce. Scrub clams under cold running water. Discard broken and not fully closed clams. Add clams to basic tomato sauce. Cook until clams open up-usually a few minutes.

Tiramisu

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Kahlua
  • 1 ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 large pack of Ladyfingers
  • 1 cup of brewed coffee at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 1 large chocolate bar
  • 2 egg whites

Directions:

Mix mascarpone, sugar, and egg whites in a large bowl until smooth. Beat heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar in a chilled bowl until it becomes whipped cream. Add the whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture. Add Kahlua to the coffee. Quickly dip Ladyfingers in and out of coffee mixture, careful not to let them become soggy. Place in rows in an 8 x 10 inch cake pan. Spread mascarpone mixture over the lady fingers. Shave Chocolate bar over the cream. Repeat until ingredients run out. Cover and chill overnight.

Cream Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shaved coconut
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • Quick Caramel Frosting
  • Cream Cheese Frosting

Direction

Preheat oven to 350°. Place shaved coconut in a single layer in a shallow pan. Place pecans in a second shallow pan. Bake coconut and pecans at the same time 5 to 7 minutes or until coconut is toasted and pecans are lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add granulated and brown sugars, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until blended. Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in pecans and 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 23 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Prepare Quick Caramel Frosting. Immediately spread frosting between layers and on top of cake. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting over sides of cake; press 3 cups toasted shaved coconut onto sides of cake.

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