"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Two Simple Fish Appetizers: Foodie Friday

shrimp cocktail tuna


My heritage is Southern Italian and I have passed on the tradition of celebrating "The Feast of the Seven Fish" on Christmas Eve to my family. The seven fish represents the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. Play stump the Catholic with your friends of this faith by seeing if they can name all seven sacraments without Googling them. Some of them are pretty tricky. 

Every year on Christmas Eve I make a meal that consists of seven fish... and let me tell you my kids count! I have designed my menu to be more child friendly then when I was growing up. I will not be serving eels in a red sauce or fish heads soup etc... Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you some of the dishes I make for this feast.


Tonno Tuna Appetizer
Tonno Tuna Appetizer


Tonno Tuna Appetizer

by Diane Balch

This is a great appetizer that you can throw on the table in minutes. You can keep the ingredients for it in the pantry and serve it over any type of lettuce you have on hand.


Tonno Tuna Appetizer Ingredients
Tonno Tuna Appetizer Ingredients

Preparation Time: 5 minutes                       Serves: 4 - 6

Ingredients:

1  5 ounce jar Tonno Tuna in olive oil
1 12 ounce or larger jar of Fancy Giardeniera pickled vegetables
1 head of Romano lettuce
1 pinch of Fleur de sel or another sea salt 

Directions:

1) Arrange lettuce leaves on a large platter.

2) Drain vegetables and then put them in the center of the platter.

3) Drain tuna and plop it out whole on to the vegetables.

4) Sprinkle the tuna with sea salt.

5) Serve whole leaves of lettuce topped with bits of vegetables and tuna.
tunatuna appetizertonno tunaItalian recipeSeafood appetizerFeast of the Seven Fish http://verygoodrecipes.com/italia



Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp Cocktail


Shrimp Cocktail

by Diane Balch

To make shrimp cocktail tastier and less expensive I recommend buying the shrimp frozen and making your own cocktail sauce. 

Frozen shrimp is usually several dollars cheaper per pound than so called "fresh shrimp". When shrimp is caught it is usually frozen, so what you buy as "fresh" is most likely thawed out fish. Besides the price of frozen shrimp, keeping it in the freezer means you don't have to use it the day you buy it.

Buy uncooked but deveined shrimp. I prefer jumbo or large for shrimp cocktail. Don't buy it cooked because then it has been defrosted and refrozen. It usually tastes over cooked when I have bought it this way.


Shrimp Cocktail Ingredients
Shrimp Cocktail Ingredients

Preparation 15 minutes                 Serves: 4 - 6

Ingredients:

1 to 2 pounds of large or jumbo frozen shrimp uncooked and deveined
1/2 cup of ketchup
1 teaspoon or more of fresh horseradish
1 lemon cut into wedges

Directions:

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add shrimp and cook them until they become opaque. Approximately 5 minutes. Drain and chill covered in the refrigerator.  

2) While the shrimp is chilling mix the ketchup and horseradish together. Taste and add more horseradish if you like your sauce spicier. Chill sauce also. Cut lemons into wedges. 

3) About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve the shrimp remove their tails. Arrange shrimp around the lip of a bowl filled with ice, center the cocktail in the middle and garnish the plate with lemon wedges.



Foodie Friday Features:

From: Half Baked Harvest

Cranberry Brie Biscuit Appetizer
Cranberry Brie Biscuit Appetizer
Cranberry is such a wonderful winter flavor and combine with brie in a biscuit how could this delicious treat not be a hit.


From: Simplee Sue

German Apple Puff Pancake
German Apple Puff Pancake
This traditional breakfast treat is a wonderful thing to make with your now aging apples.


From: Our Everyday Harvest

Acorn Squash with Roasted Corn Pudding
Acorn Squash with Roasted Corn Pudding
Seasonal and vegetarian.. and oh, so rich and creamy.


From: Call Me PMc

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Again... a wonderful dessert to make with aging apples, and oh, so moist, love the layer of cream cheese and the streusel is divine.


44 comments:

  1. Your Tonno Tuna and Shrimp Appetizer look and sound delicious. I've heard of the Feast of the Seven Fish, but have never participated in one. It sounds fantastic. I make a shrimp cocktail sauce from my Mom's recipe that is very similar to yours - it's lovely discovering shared food history :) This week I've shared a Mincemeat and Brandy cake, perfect for people who are not sure about fruit cake. Thank you for hosting, and have a lovely weekend :)

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    Replies
    1. The feast is a lot of fun, esp. if you like seafood. So funny, I've heard of mincemeat and have been curious about ... always comes up in English literature set during Christmas. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Christmas Eve with all of that seafood must be fantastic. I'm not Catholic, but I would love to celebrate with that tradition.

    Thanks for hosting. I brought homemade mayonnaise and some flavored sauces that are great with seafood.
    Sam

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    1. We usually invite a family to share the feast with us and if they are into fish it is heaven. I think it is a great theme for a party... and you definitely don't have to be Catholic to do it.

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  3. Thank you for hosting, Diane! Kid-friendly usually means it's adult-friendly too ;) Idk if I could eat fish head soup. lol. Your Tonno Tuna and Shrimp Cocktail look wonderful. Have a wonderful weekend.

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    Replies
    1. I am still traumatized by the things my grandparents made me eat in the name of food heritage. Good to hear from you.

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  4. It's always fun to share in the traditions of others. What interesting recipe ideas. I shared a slightly spicy tomato lentil soup that is both gluten free and vegan. Thanks for hosting each week. I get some great recipes.

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    1. I actually think the tuna appetizer probably sounds weird to most Americans but it is really good, especially if you get a pickled vegetable mix that has some spicy peppers in it. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Our daughter in law shared this feast with us one year and it was awesome. Your dishes look delicious and will be great for the season. I am sharing my Turkey Delight Casserole, and a way to take care of the left overs. Hope you are having a great week and thanks for hosting!
    Miz Helen

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    Replies
    1. Lucky you to be invited to this delicious feast. What are some of her dishes? So curious. I just looked at your casserole I love it because I always want to mix up my turkey with all the other fixings.

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  6. Hi Diane! I have always wanted to take part in the Feast of the Seven Fishes! My family is from the mountains of Northern Italy and it was not a custom there, so I had never heard of it until I met an Italian woman from Southern Italy! Thank you for the invitation to your Friday party! I have included the Italian Zuccherini, oh so wonderful! I could eat these forever! I hope you enjoy!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for sharing those wonderful cookies with us. Its really interesting to me that you wouldn't have heard of the feast in Italy, it is very common here in the US... but most Italians her are from the South.

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    2. Diane,

      I've asked my mother numerous times WHY we (my family) has never celebrated this wonderful traditional Italian feast and her reply was . . . 'we come from the northern mountains and our family was extremely poor, so even if our ancestors knew of the feast, there was never a chance to even enjoy anything from the distant sea' . . . a river was the closest opportunity to fish, which my grandparents didn't engage in (for whatever reason that may be???). Yes, you are so right in that most immigrants from Italy are from the Southern region and have blessed the U.S.A. with their incredibly delicious recipes. I can't wait to return to every region of beautiful Italy.

      Thank you for your beautiful blog!!!!

      Buon Natale, Diane!!!!!
      Baci,
      Roz

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    3. You are so sweet. It is sad that they couldn't afford fish. Ironically for Southerns fish was the poor man's food and meat was the expensive thing to have. I grew up eating very little meat because it wasn't part of my mother's heritage. My father's family are from the mountains and raised pigs, so pork was their staple. I love hearing from you and reading about Italy on your blog... so glad to have connected.

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  7. Hi Diane! Thanks so much for hosting!! Have a great weekend!

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  8. Hi Diane, I do a meatless dinner on Christmas Eve as tradition but I only have 5 dishes... need to come up with 2 more! Deb

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    Replies
    1. I like the idea of meatless on Christmas Eve it very respectful of the holiday.

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  9. HI Diane,

    Thank you for inviting me over to link up my salad and dressing. I've seen some yummy looking recipes that I'm going to go back and check out.

    Have a wonderful weekend,

    Nancy

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  10. Thank you for hosting! Have a great weekend.

    ~Jenny; Black Fox Homestead

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  11. Hi Diane! I do a shrimp appetizer each year for Christmas too! So simple yet stunning! Have a great weekend!

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    Replies
    1. I love shrimp at Christmas. It's great at parties too... so simple and everyone enjoys it.

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  12. I haven't had shrimp in ages - I think I'll make some this winter. I'm curious about the feast of the 7 fish now. I'll have to go do some research

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    Replies
    1. Well, I will provide you with all of the recipes I use... but there a so many more. If you like fish it is a great theme for Christmas Eve.

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    2. Personally, I love fish. Mark avoids it as much as possible though. I am excited to see the rest of the recipes.

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    3. He is not alone. We have a hard time finding friends to share this feast with because a lot of Americans don't like fish.

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  13. Hi Diane, thanks for hosting, enjoy your weekend :)

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  14. Thanks for hosting, Diane. Have a great weekend!

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  15. Hi Diane! I am so delighted and honored to be a Foodie Friday Feature! Thank you so much!

    Also, thank you for sharing your Feast of the Seven Fishes recipes. I can't wait to see the next five! :-)

    Have a blessed weekend!

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    Replies
    1. You are very welcome... yes, I hope you enjoy them all.

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  16. So glad to be part of your party. Have a wonderful week!

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  17. Lovely fish recipes! Thank you for hosting. Have a great day!

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  18. Diane,
    My family is from southern Italy too - about a couple of hours south of Rome. Growing up we never had the big fish dinner on Christmas Eve. My husband's family, on the other hand, has more than seven fishes and my husband insists on the eels. I'm a new Twitter follower - so glad I found your site. Thank you for hosting and I hope you get a chance to visit my blog at http://bakewelljunction.wordpress.com

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    1. Paesano... I'm surprised that your family doesn't celebrate it... you ought to ask them why? I actually like the eels. When I was a little kid my many cousins and I would catch them for my grandmother. The non-Italian-American kids who were catching little sunfish etc... thought we were weird. But we didn't care my grandmother would get so excited when we brought them home to her.

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  19. These look delicious! So nice that you are continuing your tradition with your children. I bet they love it :)

    Thanks for sharing on Sweet Saturday (I was the co-host this week).

    Tammy
    ourneckofthewoods.net

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  20. Thanks so much for coming by Tammy. Traditions are great to have.

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  21. I love shrimp! These look delicious. Thanks for sharing at Must Try Monday.

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  22. I am Italian but didn't know about this tradition in Southern Italy! :)
    The cocktail sauce we often make at the end of the year where I come from is mayo+ketchup+whisky yum yum

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    Replies
    1. Maybe it is more popular with Italian-American's from the South? I love your cocktail sauce. it's a real cocktail! Thanks for stopping by Tirabaralla.

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  23. Thanks for sharing these yummy appetizers at Sweet Saturday!

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  24. Love shrimp cocktail.
    Thanks for sharing at the Adorned From Above Blog Hop.
    Adorned From Above,
    Debi.
    The Busy Bee's,
    Myrna and Joye.

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  25. Diane,
    There is nothing like a great Shrimp Cocktail to make any party a hit. Hope you have a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  26. Hi Diane,
    Great recipes and I love your party. Thanks so much for sharing at Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop.
    http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2012/12/7-recipes-and-wednesdays-adorned-from.html
    Debi @ Adorned From Above
    Joye and Myrna @ The Busy Bee's
    Linda @ With A Blast

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