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Sep 21, 2005 08:20 PM

Appetizer for Christmas Eve (yes, Christmas Eve)

  • c

It's our turn to host the big ta-do this year and I've already begun formulating my menu. I've decided on osso buco with risotto milanese and sauteed greens for the main course. A second course fell into place yesterday with the discovery of a beautiful white gazpacho. I'm now trying to decide what to do for a first course. Ideally, the dish would be elegant, not too-too adventurous, and could be made mostly in advance.

Any thoughts come to mind?


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  1. Some sort of antipasto type thing springs to mind. Prosciutto and melon. Aged pecorino with a few bitter greens and chestnut honey. A few marinated anchovies with some sliced fennel.

    1. A white gazpacho? For Christmas? With an Italian themed menu? I'm thinking... no. Maybe stratcitella (sp) or wedding soup or something along those lines. But if you're going w/ a theme i don't think gazpacho fits in well. IMHO.

      For the appetizer: mussels red or white might be nice. Or baked clams.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bryan

        I'd love a white menu! White gazpacho. Oysters. Risotto with oyster mushrooms. White asparagus. Pavlova for dessert with Lichees. Champagne!

        1. re: Cynthia

          The white gazpacho will be a palette cleanser between the first and main courses. We'll be serving only a very small portion in tea cups.

      2. oysters on the half shell with a mignonette:
        1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar, 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar, juice of 2 limes, 1 minced shallot, 1 chopped serrano chile, 1/4 tsp. grated ginger, 2 Tbl. chopped cilantro, and 1/4 tsp. sea salt

        or, steamed asparagus tossed with 1 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tbl. Dijon mustard and freshly ground white pepper

        or, baked mushroom caps stuffed with crab-mayo-Swiss-and-Parmesan-cheeses

        1. The Italian thing for Xmas eve is all about fishes, for every course. Stuffed squid, salt cod, clams, whatever you can get your hands on that's good!

          1. Have you made this menu before for company? I have, and unless you're willing to cook the risotto at the last minute, it is very difficult to "hold" it when cooked in advance.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Scagnetti

              I have a great technique from The Inn at Little Washington cookbook for "advance" risotto. You can partially cook the risotto ahead of time, spread it out on a pan to cool, then finish it with hot stock in a fraction of the time when ready to serve.

              We've done this several times while entertaining and it works like a charm.

              1. re: Christina D

                Thanks for the tip.