Thursday, June 10, 2010

A ghost from Christmas Past

2009 Feast of the 7 fishes Menu and Recipes

Course One
Fried Calamari and Fried Smelt
I use a boxed seafood frying mix that I a doctor up with cayenne pepper and seafood seasoning. The real trick is soaking the squid in buttermilk for a few hours before using it.
Course Two
Salami Cheese Bread
Kerrie makes the bread dough each year and I get all the credit for filling it and rolling it up. For 4 loaves of bread I use two pounds of provolone cheese and between 1.5 – 3 lbs of Salami. Roll out the dough like you would a pizza, though try to go for a more oblong oval shape instead of a circle. Start with a layer of cheese, about 8 slices, then cover that layer with salami, sprinkle on some grated Parmesan, then repeat the same three layers again. Roll it like a burrito and try to seal it as much as you can. I often wet the tips of my fingers to try to seal it better. Brush the tops with butter before baking at 400 for about 20 minutes. The timing is tough to judge, the bread should be nice and brown and you will likely see some salami and cheese bursting out of the loaf someplace. When you think it is done tap your fingers on the top of the loaf, it should be pretty hard and make a nice thumping sounds when you hit it.
(Kerrie here) Bread dough: You can use refrigerated pizza dough, of course, but here’s my recipe. It’s the pizza dough recipe from the Joy of Cooking, tweaked a bit:
Dissolve 1 pkg yeast in 1 ¼ c. warm water (between 105 and 115 degrees F) for 5 minutes. Add about 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 splash of olive oil, and a couple of pinches of salt (maybe ½ tsp). Stir in 2 c. flour. Sometimes I use all white (I did this year), sometimes it’s half white and half whole wheat. Add more flour in half-cup increments until it’s just pulling away from the bowl, up to 1.5 more cups, and knead for a few minutes. Sprinkle a little more flour on top so you can pick up the dough, put it in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Let rise to double, about an hour. Punch down and roll out to use, ideally letting it rest about 5-10 minutes before cooking.

Meatball Soup
Meatball soup is a family tradition that spans several generations of my mother’s family. As it turns out it was traditionally served Christmas day, but my mother added it to Christmas Eve to offer something to those folks who don’t like fish.
The tradition is to use the turkey stock made from Thanksgiving's turkey as the base. There is no written recipe for the meatballs but I will try to recreate it as best as I can.
3 pounds of meatball mix (a mixture of beef pork and veal)
Mix with a couple handfuls of grated cheese then salt, pepper, garlic, basil, oregano and a pinch of mint.
I use panko breadcrumbs, but you can use the traditional method of soaking some stale bread in milk for a while, then wring out the bread and crumble it up into the mixture instead of breadcrumbs. Add 2 eggs and at least a cup of water and mix well. I like to fry up a little bit of the mix to taste it and make sure the seasonings are right. Then roll the meatballs just a bit larger than a large marble. I usually do this well ahead and freeze them so all I have to do is add them frozen to the simmering stock on Christmas Eve but you can do them fresh as well. The meatballs are done when they float. If you use frozen ones they will float, then sink, then float again.


We use this recipe, but here it is, again:
Cioppino can be made with the shell fish served in the shell, or with the shells removed. Though some diners prefer not to have to muss their hands in eating soup, the shells do add to the overall flavor of any fish soup recipe and allow for a more appealing and realistic Cioppino presentation.

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8-10 canned or bottled oil cured anchovies, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup diced celery
1 medium to large onion, diced
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
1 cup good rose or red wine
3 T red wine vinegar
1 quart homemade fish or shrimp soup stock Shrimp Stock (chicken stock and/or clam or Clamato juice can be substituted)
2 cups or more, (depending on how thick and how tomatoey you like it) homemade tomato sauce or a 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped or 2-3 T dried (add to seasoning mix if dried)
Dash or two of Tabasco Sauce
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup fresh Italian Parsley
2-3 T fresh lemon juice
Seasoning Mix: (use your herb-designated coffee grinder)
1 T salt
1 T black or mixed whole pepper
2 T dried oregano
1 T fennel seeds
1 T fresh or dried rosemary leave
Just about everything works in Cioppino and Italian fish Stew or Soup recipes, but here are our recommendations:
1/2 lb. medium shrimp (save shells for making seafood stock)
1/2 lb. scallops
24 fresh mussels
1 lb. firm white fish, chopped in 1 inch pieces (cod, catfish, halibut, orange roughy, etc.)
16 fresh clams (optional)
(Fresh or canned oysters can be added if you like them)
Fresh bread of your choice, garlic baked if desired, and lots of it. (The juice is incredible)
Prepare the Cioppino:
Heat olive oil to medium and add anchovies. Add garlic after about 3 minutes (this mixture should smell fabulous by now, might even bring a whole slew of hungry family members a-runnin’).
Add bay leaves, onions, celery and bell pepper plus 1/2 of the seasoning mix. Sauté for 6-8 minutes.
Add wine, vinegar, Tabasco and Worcestershire and reduce by 1/2, then add tomato sauce, basil and the rest of the seasoning mix. Simmer about 5 minutes then add the lemon juice.
Add the fish stock and bring to a simmer
Add the fish and shellfish, cover and cook about 7 more minutes. Remove any of the mussels and clams that don't open.
Sprinkle the completed Italian fish stew with parsley. Serve with fresh, Italian bread. (Butter it up and garlic it if you really want a taste treat!)

Course Three
Kerrie again:
Pasta dough: I make enough for about half the expected number of people. Eggs, salt, and flour, mixed well. 1 egg for every 2 people; enough flour to make a soft dough, and a good pinch of salt. Or you can use the recipe below listed with the lobster ravioli.
Smoked salmon ravioli
I don’t really have a recipe for this, I just mix in the salmon and cheeses until it taste right. Chop about 4 oz cold-smoked salmon and half a brick of softened cream cheese. Add ½ cup ricotta and a handful of mozzarella. Season with basil, dill, chopped garlic, salt and cracked black pepper until it tastes good, then mix in a lightly beaten egg. Set aside to chill before filling so the flavors blend.
Lobster ravioli
I have used the recipe on this page for a couple of years now and it's excellent. Preparation Time: Approx. 4 hours, allowing for setting and drying time

Servings: 2 dozen large ravioli

Note: Most ravioli fillings are a finely chopped meat and spinach mixture but you may use any combination of meats or vegetables you like.

Ingredients: Noodle Dough

1 and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour -
2 eggs
2 tablespoon water -
1 teaspoon salt -
2 teaspoon oil.

Ingredients: Lobster filling -

1/2 cup minced lobster meat -
1/2 cup cooked minced spinach -
2 eggs
¼ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup grated cheese -
2 tablespoon heavy cream -
1 teaspoon dried sweet basil - 1 clove minced garlic -
pinch of salt & pepper

Method for Ravioli Filling

Lightly beat the eggs and add the cheese, garlic, heavy cream and spices. Fold in the lobster meat, the spinach, and lastly the bread crumbs.
Method for Noodle Dough

On a cutting board make a well with the flour. Loosely combine the egg, the salt, the water, and the oil and drop this mixture into the well. Work the mixture by hand, folding the flour over the egg until the dough can be formed into a ball. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes then let it stand for an hour.

Roll the dough until it is very thin and cut it into 2 equal sized sheets. On one sheet put a teaspoon of the ravioli filling, in little mounds 2 inches apart. Lightly brush around the mounds of filling with water. Place the second sheet over the first sheet and press gently around the ravioli mounds. Press the outside edges. Cut the dough into squares with a pie jagger leaving a mound of filling in the middle of each square. Place the ravioli on a lightly dusted sheet pan and dry for about 2 hours. If you’re going to freeze it, place in a single layer on that sheet pan and pop it in the freezer for a few hours, then you can put it in a bag.

Drop the ravioli into salted boiling water and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove and cool for later use or serve at once with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
White sauce
Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a saucepan; add several cloves of chopped garlic and cook until the garlic softens a bit. Sprinkle in about 1 Tbsp of flour and cook for a minute. Stir in a pint of cream (FF half and half works well too) and a cup of white wine, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and almost boils. Stir in ½ c. to 1 c. grated cheese until it melts, turn off the heat and serve immediately.
Brown Butter Sauce
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
In a medium saucepan cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Let cool for about 1 minute. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
I mixed in the parmesan in the pan and then tossed pasta with it but you could easily put the cheese on after the fact

Stuffed Calamari
This is another one where the recipe changes a bit each year but I will put down what I did this year.
2 stalks of celery, diced finely
1 medium onion, diced finally
1 stick butter
1 can of baby shrimp
1 can of crabmeat
Panko breadcrumbs
Chinese 5 spice powder
Salt, pepper and garlic to taste
This amount of filling will make between 10-12 portions depending on the size of your calamari tubes.
Melt the butter, add the celery and onion and cook on medium or medium low until soft. Add a teaspoon (or so) of Chinese five spice powder and salt and pepper and garlic then cook another few minutes until the spices have blended well. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before adding in the crab, shrimp and breadcrumbs. Mix well and give it a taste, add more seasonings as needed.
Let the mixture cool before filling the squid.(the squid should have been soaking in the same buttermilk as the stuff you are going to use for fried calamari) You could try to use a pastry bag to fill them, I just use my fingers and add a little bit at a time. Do not over fill the stuffing expands and the squid contracts so you will lose a lot of stuffing, I leave a ¼ inch or at the large end open so there is room for expansion.
Lay the stuffed squid into a glass baking dish and add a few dots of butter to each squid and sprinkle on some paprika. Bake at 350 until the squid turns opaque, about 10-15 minutes at most. Overcooking is bad.

Course Four
This garlic monkfish was the dish we did not make it to this year. I made it a couple nights later and it was excellent. Couple if tips, be sure you chop the garlic pretty well, otherwise the pieces are too big to fit through the sieve. Also I found the sauce a little too thin for my tastes so I would recommend removing the fish from the pan and add the sauce to a pan to reduce it for a while before running it through the sieve.
10 cloves unpeeled garlic
1/4 cup softened butter
several thyme sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 pounds thick (1 1/2 -2 inches) monkfish fillets
9 tablespoons thyme vinegar or white wine vinegar
Parboil the garlic for 5 minutes in 1 cup of water. The skins will slip off easily. Coarsely
chop the garlic. Use half the butter to coat a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold
the fish in a single layer, and sprinkle with the garlic and thyme. Lay the fish on the herbs and dot with the remaining butter.
Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, and then add 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Now bake and baste twice more until all the vinegar is used. Then bake for another 5 to 15 minutes, basting every 5 minutes, until the fish is opaque.
(Cut through the thickest part to test. Do not let the fish become flaky or it will lose its
lobsterlike texture.) Strain the sauce through a sieve, using a wooden spoon to push the
garlic through the screen.

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