Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve — do you do it?
UPDATE: Went to the supermarket and couldn't bring myself to buy the salted cod. My daughter Elizabeth and I are the only one who kinda like it so the menu now includes three canned fish, sardines for the egg salad appetizer, anchovies for my wife's Caesar salad and crab meat for crab cakes. Remember claw meat is a little cheaper and better than the lump meat! The caviar is a steal at less than $10 for a small jar. So that's four, we get to six with my new plan to make ceviche with scallops and shrimp. Thinking that we're gonna be full after this, so I may hold off on making the clams and spaghetti. I'm a clean plate guy and hate when food is wasted. So to make sure we hit the traditional seven? Swedish Fish for dessert. It counts!
Although my wife Jodi does not love fish, she's on board with what has become our Christmas Eve tradition.
Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the Christmas holiday season. When I was a kid we decorated the tree on Christmas Eve. Every once in while we even got to open one present. Now with the insane business of our kids and our own lives, it's a real pleasure to have the family home together for a nice quiet dinner at home.
Here's my menu. I know, I know some people may say I'm cheating a bit on the fish, but hey we get all seven.
- Caviar appetizer: simple, Melba round, cream cheese, black lump fish caviar, cracked black pepper and a spritz of lemon.
- Shrimp cocktail: so easy and it counts. Steam/boil the cleaned frozen shrimp (tail on!) and serve over ICE. For the cocktail sauce, horseradish, ketchup and a little (or a lot of) Tabasco sauce.
- Sardines and Eggs: serve appetizer portion on crostini. It's a simple egg salad recipe with a can of sardines mixed in.
- Bacala: this year I'm gonna take some advice from our listeners and boil the fish then add the flaky fish to some chopped potatoes and make it a fish hash. Will report back on how this works out. I may decide last minute to add it to a simple marinara sauce with capers.
- Clams and angel hair pasta: simple simple simple. Start with olive oil and sauté some onions. Add garlic, deglaze with white wine. Then let the liquid cook the clams, add parsley and hot pepper and serve over pasta.
- Anchovies: either as a caesar salad OR as a quick addition to a cheese plate. Try a plate of roasted red peppers, sharp provolone and anchovies. Just leave 'em whole out of the can!
As far as the seventh fish ... I'm really not sure. Thinking a smoked blue fish or smoked whitefish ... yes, it's delicious. I'll let you know how it all works out.
Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.
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