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Help with Ideas for Christmas Eve – Hot and Cold Seafood Buffet

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Here are some of my ideas for a hot and cold seafood buffet for xmas eve. I am looking for things I can mostly make in the afternoon and keep hot or cold for the evening. Problem is, as big a foodie as I claim to be, my brother-in-law always tries to outdo me. This year I would really like to blow him away with items he has never had before.

I always make steamed mussels in garlic, shallots and white wine; we always have jumbo shrimp cocktail; sometimes we have steamed clams; we will be having whole steamed lobster this year; smoked oysters; crab cakes; calamari, and I am thinking of doing a crawfish boil or a dish called Buon Natale Dungeness Crab (saw Cat Cora make it on TV on the weekend – looked delicious).

Anyone have any other ideas to either add to or replace from the ones above???

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  1. Love love LOVE the crawfish boil idea, which opens up an entire world of possibilities if you want to make it a Bayou-centric celebration. I also like a freshwater crustacean being represented, in addition to all the seafood - which by the way sounds delicious.

    1. How many people will be attending?

      You can make branzino or stripped bass in kosher salt. If you plan on feeding 10+ people, get a whole(wild) stripped bass and cook it in kosher salt. Or you can serve branzino(one can feed two people) the same way.

      Not labor intensive, makes for a very impressive presentation and both taste great!

      1. Some past comments and ideas I have made on the subject....

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5803...
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5643...

        These following items have been on past menus from different Christmas Eve Dinners I have be fortunate enough to have been invited to over the years, Usually, the evenings start out with many different hors doeuvres first before the more formal sit down meal:

        Seafood Cheese Dips
        Clams and Oysters on the Half Shell
        Fried Calamari
        Fried Oysters
        Fried Fish
        Fried Shrimp
        Fried Smelts, Anchovies or Sardines
        Baked Clams
        Clams Casino
        Seafood Salad... Calamari, Pulpo, Scungelli, Mussels and Shrimp
        Crab Cakes
        Grilled Scallops
        Grilled Calamari or Pulpo

        Stuffed Sole
        Stuffed Calamari
        Whole Baked Fish
        Pasta with Clam Sauce
        Lobster Tails
        Pan Fried Fillets of Fish
        Fish Cakes...Baccala made with mashed potatoes and a panko crust
        Zuppa de Pesce
        Zuppa de Clams

        1. The San Francisco Chronicle had a recipe last year for Oven-Baked Cioppino and Smoked Trout Rillettes. They gave you lots of tips to prepare most of the Cioppino ahead of time. In fact, I'm going to try making it this weekend. The Cioppino contains fresh fish, shrimp and Dungeness crab.

          1. A poached whole filet of salmon with red onions, capers, horseradish crème fraîche would work well and can be prepared in advance as it can or should be served cold.

            Hey, I know I'd eat it!