While this is after the fact, the Feast of the Seven Fishes was a big day for saucy savings. With the help of some, I was able to put together some really great dishes to feed the family for Christmas Eve. Some I have already posted so check out the links for those below. These recipes are for the most part simple and good to try out year round. Just send your father into Arthur Avenue to pick up the fresh seafood for you.
- Fried Calamari
- Fresh calamari, sliced into rings or small pieces
- Vegetable oil
- Large/deep frying pan
This recipe is simple enough that it doesn’t deviate much from frying up other dishes like chicken cutlets or shrimp. You want to put about 2 to 3 inches of oil in the frying pan so that when you put the calamari in, the entire piece is frying. Vegetable oil is the recommended kind because the olive oil burns a little too easily. Let that oil get nice and hot to the point that you see small bubbles appear at the top.
Next, you want to soak the calamari in some milk for at least 10 minutes or so. Let the milk coat it before you dump them into a bowl of flour. You can mix in some spices to the flour if you’d like as well. I used some paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and parsley. It just gives it an added flavor. Now, fry up your calamari for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Don’t overload the frying pan or the temperature of the oil will drop too quickly and they won’t cook right. Serve hot with some marinara dipping sauce.
I’ve already posted that one so click on the link above to take you to that recipe.
3. Spaghetti with Clams in White Wine Sauce
- Fresh clams
- About 2 cups of White wine (dry)
- A stick of Butter
- 4 cloves of chopped garlic
For this recipe, I used a medium sized pot. Much like the mussels, before using the clams it’s important that you clean the crap off them. Let me sit in ice cold water while you make the sauce.
Use this kitchen brush to help scrape off the dirt from your clams and mussels. It works much better than a regular sponge since it has a handle!
Start to sauté some garlic and butter in the pan on medium heat. Add in other spices like salt, pepper, basil, and parsley if you like those flavors. As the garlic begins to soften, add in your wine. This may seem like a lot of wine but as the sauce begins to cook, you keep adding in butter to mix the flavors. Always taste as you go along too because depending on the dish, you’ll know what it should and shouldn’t taste like. For instance, if you happen to use too much wine for a sauce, you’ll probably take a sample and taste only wine. That’s not a problem because you can just reduce it with some butter, chicken stock, water, or more sharp spices like garlic or onions.
With this dish, the water from the clams will reduce that flavoring all together so it’s important you have strong flavors prior to putting them in. As the sauce cooks, you’ll see it start to thicken as you add in butter. Taste for quality and then pour in your clams. Cover on medium heat and let them steam for about 5 minutes. Mix them every now and then so the sauce mixes flavors with the clam juice. Once you see them open, they are pretty much done. Give them one last mix and pour the entire thing over your cooked spaghetti. If any clam does not open, discard it.
I also wrote about this one so click on the above link to read about that recipe.
5, 6, 7. Baked Flounder, Sea Bass, & Salmon
The best part about baking fish is that it’s simple and it’s easy to make them taste delicious. The key for me at least is to let them cook on tin foil where you can pour plenty of juices and flavors on them that allow the fish to soak in while they bake. The philosophy behind all three is the same. I just used slightly different flavoring for each.
For the flounder, I garnished them with salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, parsley, and butter. They are thinner so they won’t take nearly as long as the other two to cook.
With the sea bass, I rubbed it down with olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, and topped it off with butter chunks, lemon juice, and slices of lemon. It took roughly 20-25 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees. Make sure the tin foil is big enough to hold in the juices and cover the fish while leaving cracks of air space.
The salmon was flavored with crushed tomatoes and onions. I topped it off with some parsley too. The juices from those ingredients were enough to give the salmon extra flavor that was delicious. Much like the sea bass it took about 20-25 minutes to bake.
It all depends on how large the fish are. These were about 1 pound filets that we used.
Keep it simple, everyone. It’s not like we’re re-inventing the wheel.
We drank whatever we wanted with this meal although I will say a very good Pinot Grigio would fit most nice.
Non Cooking Thoughts of the Week
a. We are approaching the 5th week of the government shutdown where thousands and thousands of federal employees are still not receiving paychecks. Why is it that the government is allowed to run on trillions of dollars of debt, spend irresponsibly, then shutdown over disagreements? With so many Americans working paycheck to paycheck, it appears that no one is willing-to take responsibility for this DC mess. No surprise there.
b. This is an interesting article from the WSJ. It dives into the origins or the “picky eater” and how kids today have taken control of their parents by their choices in food. The author described how she sometimes has to cook three entirely different meals in one night to accompany everyone’s food preferences? Really? Whose fault is that? A culture like that breeds entitled, snotty, brats.
c. My football philosophy has been consistent since I started playing in 5th grade: games are won and lost in the trenches. If you have strong offensive & defensive lines, the rest of the team will fall into place much easier (granted if you have a decent QB). Look at what the Rams did on both sides of the ball last week. That’s why it’s been so frustrating to watch the Dolphins turn into a finesse, soft team over the last 10 years. Whoever decides to come here & coach (Brian Flores, maybe) I just pray they bring some physicality & accountability to the team. Oh yeah…and draft Kyler Murray please.
Farewell Quote of the Week
“Defensive and offensive linemen control the game and true sports fans know that.”
-Dante “Human Joystick” Hall