Since this was our second Christmas together, we decided to try again to honor Ray's Italian heritage. Tradition on Christmas Eve is the Feast of Seven Fishes, a seven course meal of, well, seafood and fish. Since we were pretty sure we couldn't eat a 7 course meal, we trimmed it down to a four course meal, and even then had to hold over two courses to the next day !
I made homemade catsup...yes, I did ! We are trying to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from our diets, and I found a recipe for this. It only takes a minute to make, and has a really unusual flavor. I used my homemade catsup to make homemade cocktail sauce for some shrimp for the first course.
My family tradition was always oyster stew, so that was the second course. The recipe is quite simple:
3/4 pound fresh, shucked oysters, in liquid
2 ribs celery, diced fine
1/2 medium onion, diced fine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Dash or two of Tabasco sauce (as much as you like)
Saute celery and onions in butter just until slightly soft. Stir in flour until well combined. Add liquid from oysters, milk and seasonings. Continue to stir until slightly thickened. Add oysters and cook just until the edges of the oysters start to curl. Serve with oyster crackers.
Admittedly, we ate too many shrimp and too much oyster stew, but it tasted so good ! We held over the remaining courses to the next night. Swordfish en papillot and lobster mashed potatoes !