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Seafood on xmas eve...looking for ideas?

I plan on cooking seafood for xmas. Just wanted to tap into the collective chowhound imagination and see if there are any suggestions for a tasty and imaginative seafood-based appetizer and main. Sounds pretty vague...I know. However, can't have any crustaceans because of my mother-in-law's allergy. Then again....

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  1. Oh man- no crustaceans really kills the joy! Is she super allergic or can she even be around shellfish? For Christmas eve I like a pasta dish with a seafood/tomato/cream dressing. Usually use shellfish, but white fish of will do. Have you ever done a brandade with salt cod? That is fun and not really "fishy". That would be an appetizer. An opener like bagna coda (with the anchovy it fits the bill) is nice and gets some veggies in. A whole roasted fish in a salt crust is very festive. The only real work is in shopping for a great fish.

    1 Reply
    1. re: torty

      How about Mussels with Andouille/Chorizo steamed in beer or wine served with Crostini Croutons and Pan Seared Scallops with dipping sauces?

      For Mussels, a recent thread; http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/572650

      For Scallops...pan sear after scoring one flat side with straight cuts, then quarter turn for another round of straight cuts to form a cross pattern. After a nice caramelized crust, arrange on a platter with fresh lemon wedges and....say three different sauces for dipping. An Asian inspired Ginger Soy Dressing, an Asian Peanut Dressing and last a Clementine/Orange Citrus Dressing....

      I have been fortunate enough to have friends who invite me to their Christmas Eve Night of the Seven Fishes Dinner. Before the actual formal dinner is served, a pre appetizer gathering is held first. The favorite dishes served there are Clams Casino/Baked Clams, Seafood Salad. Grilled Calamari or Pulpo......

    2. Make some salmon gravlax for an opener.

      1. Or the main course a wonderful salmon en croute (in puff pastry). Makes a nice presentation, Like this one:

        http://foodgloriousfood-toto.blogspot...

        4 Replies
        1. re: lexpatti

          I would be totally into this, except a couple of xmases ago, i tried my hand at beef wellington. working with the puff pastry gave me headaches and I had worked up my anticipation so much and when it came out flat (i.e. not too puffy) I was devastated. I need a few more years to recover.

          1. re: grandgourmand

            Did you buy the puff pastry? I've made a wonderful salmon en croute where you wrap individual pieces of salmon, and you put a layer of butter/ginger/currants between the salmon and the pastry - it's delicious, and was quite easy.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Yeah, I bought it. My problem was pretty basic. I had a whole tenderloin, and a pretty big one at that. And patched together two store-bought pieces of puff pastry. Instead, I should have made individual portions. In retrospect, it would have required a bit more effort, but would have been easier to handle.

              1. re: grandgourmand

                Also, I believe that I made these salmon packages ahead of time, refrigerated, and then baked, which made it convenient as well. I think I'm going to take a stab at making individual beef wellingtons using Caroline1's recipe for Christmas - there are just three of us.

        2. I like the suggestions..thanks. And, yes, not having lobster or crab is a drag.

          Gravlax, haven't made that in a while. I love the stuff. Scallops will definitely make an appearance. And the whole roasted fish...I think that's a winner. I've got some great Asian markets where I live (toronto) and getting the fish shouldn't be a problem.

          That's pretty efficient.

          1 Reply
          1. re: grandgourmand

            I just played with a recipe last night and loved it, Scallop En Croute - wrapped packets of sea scallops in pie crusts. I just seasoned them with salt, pepper, crushed garlic, and butter. They were sooo sweet and the pastry really added.

            I'm anxious to play with this idea more, has anyone else wrapped scallops in pastry, pizza dough, phyllo or puff?

          2. How about a seared tuna appetizer with assorted sauces for dipping?

            1 Reply
            1. re: FoodChic

              I love the stuff..but aside from shellfish allergies, I'm dealing with in-laws that don't like anything raw, or close to it. Honestly, they're like kids that say they hate broccoli despite never having tried it. Then they try it, and voila, they like it. But I want a relaxing meal, with no pressure tactics involved.

              Yes, I'm contradicting myself as I will be making gravlax. But I can use some of that over the span of a couple days.