Feast on FISH and SEAFOOD recipes

Delightful Fish and Seafood dishes...
created for their memorable flavours. 
A re-vamped, delectable menu for those who desire to...
improuve on some traditional dishes served on Christmas Eve.
As incredibly appetizing as these dishes turned out...
they'll surely grace your table any other time of the year also.

Raised by parents who originated from the mid-Southern parts of Italy...our customs, although finding ourselves living in North America, did not sway much from what they experienced growing up.
My Father got his way for his ' cena della Vigilia Natale ' Christmas Eve supper while Mom and her parents feasted us their traditional way on Christmas day.
In general, this seemed to work out quite well.  You see, in general means, there were some things not so cherished at the table...more specifically the supper on Christmas Eve.  Sure, after Mommy and I had finished baking all the festive desserts...she then dedicated herself to our special evening meal.  As so many Italians from the Southern regions, she prepared several fish dishes, including ' Linguini pomodoro alle vongole ' clam tomato linguini pasta... some ' pesce fritto ' fried fish mix (calamari, sardines, shrimp), in addition to some amazing ' calamari ripieni ' stuffed squid to be accompanied by ' insalata di Pesce ' a cold fish salad.

As much as there are several more selections which some traditionally name ' la Festa dei sette Pesci ' the " Feast of the Seven Fishes ", it's the main dish which displeased all my senses.
Due to the fact ' Baccalà ' (a salted cod fish), was attributed to my Father's roots...he always made sure it honoured our menu as it did his table growing up in a household where budgets were slightly restrained due to raising a large family in difficult times.  My only objection was...couldn't they have chosen another inexpensive fish other than ' Baccalà '?  I do apologize to those who actually do not mind this fish...I mean no disrespect...but come on...cod fish, really?
Terribly, in a way, I used to dread this upcoming Christmas Eve supper.  Unfortunately, my taste buds fervently fought back from the first bite of this salty codfish.  Hence, for every Eve that went by throughout the younger part of my life...I was required to suck it up and be grateful I had something so wonderfully symbolic in my plate.  If one considers all the hunger in the world...one could only reason that I was slightly ungrateful.  In my defence, I was very young.  In those moments of life it's not about the others, it's about you and what you're feeling.

Yes, I was told countless times the endearing story about the celebration commemorating the waiting of baby Jesus to be born.  However, in all honesty...Santa Claus was the main man on a child's mind.  I was certainly no different than any kid believing that this bubbly man was coming down our chimney overnight to bring me a few well deserved gifts.  The excitement alone kept me well behaved at the table.
Note about this photo:  Every year, my step-Dad's childhood tradition is to meticulously and lovingly put together this charming festive scenery.  This is his biggest thrill.

Therefore, if I didn't want coals and onions for gifts, I'd better behave or else Santa was not coming for my cookies in exchange for my wish list ;o)
If I were in Italy or back under my parents roof, it would be certain that this custom of having cod fish as the finishing meal would still be enforced.
Now, that I'm much older and capable of running my own show...I'll eat what pleases me so that I could actually look forward to the supper that takes place on Christmas Eve.
It's now my roof, my kitchen, my table...and of course my rules. ;o)
Hubby and I have also decided that Christmas Eve was to be quietly and peacefully enjoyed together and Christmas day is to be spent in a big family wayNow, the situation has become much more manageable ;o) which is what fuels me within this holiday period.

Throughout the years, I've made a few changes to what constitutes...
reasonable amounts of food all by creating appealing and refined selections.
With my enthusiastic willingness to always make...
Fish and Seafood dishes as attractive and flavourful as possible...
here are a few choices to pick from for a splendidly successful menu.
A few recipes are from past posts as well as...
two new recipes I‘ve had the pleasure to create lately.
Shrimp Avocado, roasted Pepper

A blended mix consisting of:   chopped baby cooked shrimp, avocado,
roasted red pepper, olive oil, zested orange zest, parsley,
Asiago and Parmiggiano grated cheese.
Presented with:  lightly spiced, marinated oyster mushrooms...
along with a few robust green ’ Cerignola ‘ olives.
Once the appetite has been opened...
an enticing entrée with a splendid mini-feast:

One could also choose to make this exceptionally tantalizing shellfish entrée...


As alluring as it is to continue having appetizers and entrées...
could I tempt you with a melt-in-your-mouth...
' calamari ’ (squid) linguini pasta?

I’ve got to tell you how impressed we were with the ultimate result this dish offered.
Honestly, Hubby and I would have had another plate if...
it weren’t for the next elaborate stuffed fillet rolls that were in the oven.
The aroma alone had to discipline us into not taking one more fork to these linguini.

Calamari (Squid) Olive Cremini Tomato Linguini
serves 4 entrées

Click HERE for a clear PRINTER version

(American / Metric measures)

. 3 tbsps. (45ml) olive oil
. 3 tbsps. (45ml) grape seed oil (canola is fine)
. 1 big sweet onion (Spanish or Vidalia)
. 10 small cremini mushrooms
. 1 big red bell pepper
. 5 medium baby squids (or cuttlefish)
. 1/4 cup (60ml) Sherry (or white wine + 1/4 tsp. (1ml) of sugar)
. 1 can [13oz/(398ml)diced tomato, (Italian Roma or San Marzano ‘Pezzetoni’)
. 1 can filled of water
. 1 tbsp. (15ml) capers (crushed)
. 20 whole black olives (Kalamata type)
Seasonings: 1 tsp. (5ml) each sea salt and garlic powder
. a pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste)
. 1 tsp. (5ml) each dried herbs: basil, marjoram, oregano, sage, tarragon
. 1 tsp. (5ml) ‘fleur d’ail’ (or 1 minced garlic clove)

. 1 lb (450g) dry Linguini pasta

1. In a large deep skillet, heat the oils on medium-high heat and add the thinly sliced onions.
2. Meanwhile, thinly slice mushrooms as well as the red pepper.  Add both to the onions.  Caramelize the vegetable mix by lowering the heat slightly and covering with a lid ajar.
3. While the vegetables are tenderizing, give a good cleaning and pat dry the squids.  Slice them thinly.  Note: make sure any hard nodules are snipped off.  Set aside while the heat is raised back to medium high for the skillet to receive the squid.
4. Make a well and toss the vegetables aside to get ready to incorporate the squid into the skillet.  Sautée quickly by flipping them as they cook for 1 minute.  Once turned over, add the salt and garlic powder, wait another minute and pour the Sherry wine over top.
5. Once the alcohol has evaporated, add the capers, olives,  ‘fleur d’ail’ and the rest of the herbs .
6. Add the diced tomato and also add the equal amount in water from using the can as measurement.  Bring everything to a boil and then lower the heat to medium as all the ingredients come together.
7. Meanwhile, in a medium-large pot, boil water with a generous pinch of salt in order to receive the linguini.  Note: ONLY start cooking the pasta when the tomato sauce has substantially reduced (about 10 minutes).
8. Make sure that once the pasta is cooked VERY ‘al dente’ (3 minutes) ...reserve a full cup of its boiling water.

9. After you’ve reserved the boiling pasta water, go back to the sauce and raise the heat to medium.  Now, quickly strain the pasta to then add it to the tomato sauce.

10. Pour the reserved cup of hot water and stir into the pasta.  Cook the whole mix for another 5 minutes on medium heat.  Cover the skillet for 5 more minutes on very low heat so that the flavours amalgamate further.

. If desired...a sprinkled garnish of chopped parsley may be added.  Buon appetito.


Lastly...for the main part of this Fish and Seafood feast...
a festively stuffed fish fillet roll with excellently paired ingredients.

FISH stuffed FILLET rolls
with goat CHEESE roasted TOMATO
serves 2 persons

Click HERE for a clear PRINTER version

(American / Metric measures)

. 2 long Basa fish fillets * (large and long)
. 3-4 oz (~100g) creamy Goat cheese
. 1/2 cup (100g) cooked, small beans (Lentils or Mung are preferred)
. 1/4 cup (30g) walnuts (chopped)
. 2 tbsps. (30ml) olive oil
. 1 tsp. (5ml) ‘Fleur d’ail’ (or 1 small crushed garlic clove)
. pinch of sea salt
. 1/4 tsp. (1ml) each of dried basil, oregano and tarragon
. 6 slices of roasted Roma tomatoes (or de-hydrated sun-dried tomatoes)
. a small handful of fresh, Italian parsley
. 1/8 cup (25ml) Sherry (or white wine + 1/4 tsp. (1ml) of sugar)
* Basa fish alternatives (a.k.a. PANGASIUS or BOCOURTI or even COBBLER ): Catfish, Flounder, Sole and Tilapia.

Preheat the oven to:
375F/190C/Gas 5.
. Oven rack to be placed on the bottom level
...Cheese mix:
1. Mash and stir together the goat cheese, beans, walnuts, olive oil, ‘fleur d’ail and seasonings.
2. On a flat surface...lay the fish fillets one next to each other.

3. Spread the cheese mix in the center of each fillet and making sure to leave spaces on all edges.
4. Throughout each fillet...place three roasted tomato slices evenly across with the parsley spread over top.

5. Carefully start rolling from the narrow end of the fillet.  Finish off by pinning them with a thick toothpick.
6. Prepare a pan (Pyrex glass dish type)...pour the Sherry wine on the bottom and place the rolls with the fillet tips downwards.
7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes. Leave another 5 minutes while the oven is turned off.

Plating and Presentation:
. Each plate can be garnished with a few leaves of lettuce along with...
half of a fresh greenhouse tomato quartered and separated per plate.
Buon appetito.
Here's another Fish fillet recipe to enjoy:

If like myself, you’ve been seeking different recipes...
to spruce up your dish and please your palate...
hopefully with this menu, you’ll have been inspired...
to shake things up a little also.

     Growing up, one of the best parts of Christmas Eve was the anticipation of what could possibly be found the next day under the tree ;o)
Now, I'm little older, wiser and much more spiritual about...
the meaning of what these holidays truly represent.  
The real gift, is the love I'm largely capable of giving with no expectation of it in return.

Of, course, great food and
fabulous company
makes life all that more precious.

(This photo was taken last year at my parents.)

Happy Holidays going forward.
Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

Other FISH and SEAFOOD recipes that may be of interest:
- MUSSELS fennel Sambuca ROQUEFORT
- SEAFOOD Splurge with ARTICHOKE Salad