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A Seven Fishes Feast
Some menu ideas and the Roasted Red Pepper Salad...
We are quickly approaching my favorite holiday of the year (Feast of the Seven Fishes) as well as nearing the end of it. Before I break until 2023, I wanted to thank you all for sticking with me. 2022 (and 2021 for that matter) have been full of challenging transitions and it’s been a joy to be able to connect with you. However you landed here, I’m incredibly grateful to have you. Onward with many fun things planned for next year!
When I posted my handwritten Thanksgiving menu last month, it seemed to resonate with many of you on social media, so I thought I’d share the one I’ve written for Christmas Eve. Pardon the splatter, it’s Meyer lemon season and I wrote this in the kitchen.
I’ve been celebrating this Italian-American holiday my whole life and I never plan on stopping. It can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. If you’re daunted by the task, may I suggest doing a tinned fish version of the holiday or as my friend Charlotte founder of Scout created the “seacuterie board.” Brilliant! I plan on adding to the below menu, with some of their mussels packed in tomato purée, smoked paprika, fennel and chili flakes. Or I might work them into my seafood stew, we’ll just see how things pan out…
In addition, to my fish-forward menu, I always serve roasted red peppers (recipe below) tossed with oil and garlic. This year, I’ll be tossing them with some of my Crispy Garlic Chili Oil with Shallots and Fennel Seeds and you should too!
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The Roasted Red Pepper Salad
Time 45 minutes
1 ½ pounds (680 g) medium bell peppers, preferably in a variety of colors, such as red, yellow, and orange (preferably not green)
⅓ cup (75 ml) olive oil 4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
2 Calabrian chiles, thinly sliced, or 1⁄2 teaspoon chile flakes
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed well if in salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint or basil or both
Flaky salt, for serving
Preheat the oven to broil and move the oven rack to the top to sit right below it. Cut off the tops of the peppers and remove their seeds and discard them. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, place them cut side down on a large rimmed baking sheet, and broil until the skin is charred in spots, 10 to 12 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they do not burn. Put them in a bowl and place a plate on top so they can steam; 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your garlic chile oil. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and the chiles and cook until the garlic is pale golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature.
When cool enough to touch, rub the skins from the roasted peppers and discard them. Cut the peppers into 1/4-inch-thin strips, and place them in a medium bowl. Pour the garlic chili oil over the peppers and add the capers, season with salt, and stir to combine. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes for the flavors to get acquainted.
Arrange the peppers on a medium plate or platter, scatter with the herbs and sprinkle with flaky salt.
Wishing you all the happiest of holidays this weekend, if you’re celebrating, and if not, I’m also eagerly counting down to the “week of the in-between.”
There are leftovers to eat, many people to share them with and the pressure of it actually being Christmas is miraculously gone. It is the laziest, most indulgent week in between the new year and the old, and I can’t wait.
See you in 2023!