Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Eve traditions

Growing up, we would go to our grandfather's house or to Vince and Mary's home after Christmas Eve service. There would be fish. Lots and lots of fish. Octopus, squid, shrimp, fish in many forms, just lots of seafood. We would be there until the wee hours of the morning. The kids would run around. The adult women would talk and the men would play poker with the coolest cards I'd ever seen. I loved my uncles' Italian card decks, they just fascinated me.

Now that I host Christmas Eve, I no longer do just fish dishes. But I always try to give at least a nod to the traditions I was raised with. With that in mind, this year I made cioppino, to go with the beef tenderloin, goose and all of the side dishes.

The measurements are all pretty much approximate. I didn't really measure much.

1/4 c oil (more or less, I never measure)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/3 c chopped fresh parsley (again, more or less)
5 cloves garlic, minced

Heat oil in large pot. Sautee onion, pepper, parsley and garlic about 5 minutes.

2 - 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 - 15 oz can tomato sauce
12 oz dry red wine
1 bay leaf
1 Tbl dried oregano

Bring to boil and then cover. Simmer 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add:

12 littleneck clams, scrubbed and cleaned
2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and cleaned
1 1/2 lbs small shrimp (50 ct per pound), peeled and deveined
1/2 lb haddock, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 lb tilapia, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 lb orange roughy, cut into bite sized pieces
3/4 lb bay scallops

Bring to boil. Cover and simmer another 20 minutes, until clams and mussels are open and shrimp is opaque.

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