Friday, December 14, 2012

FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHY COCKTAILS

What is the Feast of the Seven Fishy Cocktails?  

We all know that Christmas Eve is the Feast of the Seven Fishes and is very traditional in the Italian household. I'm not Italian but over the years I have become a part of the tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes.  So after many visits to our fish market and having an abundance of seafood in my fridge, I devised my own version of the Feast which I named the Feast of the Seven Fishy Cocktails.  And, every year, people start calling me in May for an invite.  It used to be asking for an invite to my New Year's Eve celebration, but now there's two.

Not all of these contain alcohol and are simply named because they're served in a cocktail style glass or have some type of base that sounds like a cocktail.  The only fishy cocktail made with straight vodka or gin is the Oyster Martini.  The Bloody Mary Steamed Salmon Cocktail is cooked in a Bloody Mary mixture containing alcohol which is burned off during the cooking process.   The Tahitian Blue Shrimp Cocktail, Sashimi Cocktail, and the Conch Cocktail are simply served cocktail style.  Finally, the Colossal Florida Stone Crabs are purchased ready to eat and served with a chardonnay based sauce which is also purchased.  Also purchased are the Marinated White Anchovies, which are served atop a mesculin salad that is tossed in champagne vinaigrette. 

Oyster Martini
“Shucked then stirred”
Freshly shucked oyster, topped with vodka (or gin), a splash of vermouth, lemon juice, freshly-cracked pepper and garnished with an olive

 Salmon Bloody Mary
“A Salmon Bloody Mary? Where’s the shrimp?”
Atlantic salmon simmered in tomato juice, vodka, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, fresh lemon juice and chopped celery

Tahitian Blue Shrimp Cocktail
“Here's the shrimp, with a 'twist’--not white Gulf Shrimp--Sorry, Chef Besh"
 Jumbo Tahitian blue shrimps steamed in a spiced fish fumet, then chilled and served with traditional shrimp cocktail sauce and fresh lemons

Sashimi Cocktail
“New style sashimi in a martini glass”
Sushi-grade tuna and salmon served with a yuzu and soy vinaigrette, topped with bamboo and soy smoked sesame seeds, Paddlefish caviar, pickled ginger and wasabi, garnished with salmon skin crackle 
 
Conch Cocktail
“Conch?”
Conch ceviche style marinated in fresh lime juice and red onions served with habanero peppers

 Colossal Florida Stone Crabs with Chardonnay Dijon Sauce
“Couldn’t get to Joe’s in Miami this year”
Colossal Florida stone crabs served with a chardonnay Dijon mustard dipping sauce 

Marinated White Anchovies Served atop a Mesculin Salad tossed in a Champagne Vinaigrette
“The 7th fish”
Smothered in a champagne vinaigrette

 OYSTER MARTINI
Oyster Martini
Now we all know that serving a raw oyster with alcohol is nothing new and it is known to everyone as an oyster shooter.  Mine, however, isn't the "typical" oyster shot.  It is served in a martini glass, so could we re-name it?

1 live oyster (shucked)
1/2 fl oz vodka or gin
Splash of vermouth (1/8 teaspoon)
Splash fresh lemon juice (1/8 teaspoon)
0.125 tsp. pepper
1 green olive
In a mini martini glass, place the freshly shucked oyster.  Top with vodka or gin and a splash of vermouth.  Add lemon juice, pepper and olive.


SALMON BLOODY MARY
Salmon Bloody Mary
With shrimp
Whenever I think about a Bloody Mary, typically for brunch, shrimps immediately come to mind as the perfect accompaniment, and many establishments include one or two in their recipe. So, as I was putting together a cocktail/tapas menu and discovered this dish, it immediately piqued my interest.  This recipe is adapted from Chef Michael Smith's book, Michael's Best of Chefs at Home.  As Chef Smith said, "One of the easiest ways to cook any type of fish is to simply simmer it in a flavorful liquid.  And if that liquid just happens to taste like a classic cocktail, all the better."

2 4 oz salmon fillets
0.125 tsp pepper
1 cup tomato juice
2 fl oz vodka
1/2 Tablespoon horseradish
1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/3 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup celery, chopped
Celery stalk (for garnish), optional

Season the salmon fillets with pepper. 

Mix remaining ingredients in a shallow saucepan with tight-fitting lid.  Bring to a gentle simmer and then add salmon fillets.  Cover and poach the salmon in the liquid until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Serve each fillet with the cooking broth ladled overtop.  Garnish with celery stalk.
 
TAHITIAN BLUE SHRIMP COCKTAIL MADE IN SPICY COURT BOUILLON
Tahitian Blue Shrimp
    
I posted my shrimp cocktail court bouillon before, but here it is again. This time we're using Tahitian Blue shrimps.  So does that mean it's different?
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
1 celery rib, cut into thin slices
1 fresh bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of parsley
2 sprigs of fresh dill (or fennel fronds)
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1 tablespoon dill seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 lemon, halved
1/2 cup tarragon vinegar
3 quarts of water
1 pound of extra large shrimps (U12-15) in the shell
For Serving:
Shredded lettuce
Lemon wedges
Cocktail sauce, either purchased or home-made
Combine all ingredients (except shrimps) in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook at an active simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat.   Let mixture infuse for about an hour.  
Return to a boil.  Add the shrimps and bring back to a full boil.  Cover, turn off heat and let shrimps sit for about 4-5 minutes.  Drain shrimps and when cool enough to handle, peel and devein them.  Trim off "excess skin" from the deveining area.  Make them clean.  When done, put shrimps in the refrigerator and chill until ready to serve.
To plate:  Fill chilled martini glasses with shredded lettuce.  Place 3-4 shrimps on the rim of the glass.  Add a lemon wedge and dollop of cocktail sauce in the middle.
 
SASHIMI COCKTAIL

Sashimi Cocktail
This is, by far, one of my favorite recipes, which I also posted before. "Say it again, Sashimi."

I've always enjoyed Nobu's "New Style Sashimi" and have been making it for at least a decade.  This is a little bit of a spin on the dish, but the underlying ingredients are there.  Sushi-grade tuna and salmon are served with a yuzu and a soy vinaigrette, lightly cooked with a combination of warm oils, then topped with soy and bamboo smoked sesame seeds, paddlefish caviar, pickled ginger and wasabi, garnished with a salmon skin crackle.  The "garnishes" are the fun part.  The salmon skin crackles are a very tasty garnish--sort of like the "olive" in a martini.

Ingredients
8 oz. Sushi-grade Salmon, skins reserved
8 oz. Sushi-grade Tuna
4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
4 Tablespoons Yuzu Juice
2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
14 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Soy Sesame Seed (or White)
1 Tablespoon Bamboo Smoked Sesame Seed (or Black)
2 Tablespoons of Paddlefish caviar (or the real stuff)
1/4 cup of Daikon, shredded on a Japanese spiral slicer
2 Scallions cut on the diagonal
8 pieces of Pickled Ginger, for garnish
Fresh Wasabi Root, grated on a shark-skin grater (or the tube stuff) for garnish

Make the salmon skin crackles:  Cut salmon skins into 1-inch strips. Heat a sauté pan.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of the oil and fry salmon skins until very crisp. Remove from pan; place on paper towels and set aside.  When cooled down, thread onto stainless steel or bamboo mini skewers. This is the garnish.

Mix the soy and yuzu juices with garlic; set aside.

Cut the salmon and tuna into 1/2" chunks. 

Combine the olive oil and sesame oil in a nonreactive small saucepan. Set over moderately high heat and bring almost to a boil (about 200°); the surface will shimmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the martini (or plate):
Line the bottom of four chilled martini glasses with the shredded daikon. Place equal portions of salmon and tuna in each glass. Drizzle the soy/yuzu/garlic mixture on each serving.  Then, pour the warm oil mixture on each one to "lightly" sear the fish.  Sprinkle the scallions and both sesame seeds on each.  Add a dollop of caviar and about two slices of ginger, and another dollop of wasabi on each.  Garnish each with a salmon skin crackle. Serves 4

CONCH SALAD COCKTAIL

Conch Salad Cocktail

Conch in the Shell
 
My new local fish market had fresh conch and I couldn't resist.  The meat of conches is used as food, either eaten raw, or cooked.  I opted to make the conch as a ceviche, where it is marinated in lime juice and  red onions.  Later it is added to a mixture of habanero peppers and cukes.  When served in a cocktail glass, it becomes a cocktail sans alcohol.

1/4 pound of conch meat
¼ small red onion, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
½ habañero pepper, stem removed, deveined and minced (about ½ teaspoon)
¼ cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced (about ½ cup)
3/4 teaspoon Fleur de Sel or sea salt

Place the conch meat in between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat tenderizer, pound the conch meat to 1/8 inch thick. Once tenderized, cut the conch meat into ½-inch chunks. Transfer the meat to a glass or ceramic bowl and add the onion and lime juice. Make sure the conch chunks float freely in the lime juice to allow thorough and even marinating. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 3-5 minutes. Strain and set aside. Discard the lime juice.

In a separate bowl, combine the minced habañero and cucumber. Carefully incorporate the conch meat and onions. Add more lime juice and season with salt. Mix well.

COLOSSAL FLORIDA STONE CRABS WITH CHARDONNAY DIJON SAUCE




MARINATED WHITE ANCHOVIES SERVED ATOP A MESCULIN SALAD TOSSED IN A CHAMPAGNE VINAIGRETTE



Also, not home-made....

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