Source: My mom Joanne, 1970’s
A plate full of fried fish, well, it’s quite delicious! “The Plate”, is our version of a typical Christmas Eve Dinner inspired from my Northern Italian roots, and I have no one other than my mom to thank.
Since as far back as my mind travels, I remember the special Christmas Eve meal that my mom worked hard on preparing for us. In the day, I’d say middle 70’s, my mom used to fry smelts, sardines, scallops, squid and shrimp. Over the years, our family began to ask, via a process of elimination, only for the fried calamari and shrimp. It happened one year by accident and my mom had a hard time finding Sardines and smelts. We were so delighted with that, it became our new tradition to only have marinated crab (in olive oil, fresh garlic, parsley and salt and pepper), fried calamari and shrimp, and Risotto.
The Italian labor of love – Risotto
It’s a very labor intensive meal, one that takes over four hours from beginning to end, and that doesn’t include making dessert. I was able to recruit the help of my daughter and son. While my daughter was responsible for the fish process, my son was responsible for the risotto ritual. The thirty minute, constant care method of making true, authentic Risotto. With this process, there are no sure short cuts, and its the guaranteed method which ensures the most outstanding taste in the finished pot of risotto. Hours passed as my daughter endured her laborious process of dipping, then flouring each little piece of fish. A true bonding experience was had by us all. It’s fun to see what good spirits are ensued by committing simple Italian labor’s of love. We were all quite proud of our meal.
Food and it’s powers
So, the moral of the story is. If you can’t bring family to you over the holidays, at least try to bring the food to your family. Because hands down, even though my mom wasn’t with us in Europe during the holiday’s, she was there in spirit, and we thought of her every bite of the way.
Sautee onions with garlic and shredded ginger. Peel the carrots, slice them, them put together in sautee pot, add a dash of butter and a bit of bouillon stock and simmer to cook for about 15 min.
Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon
Sautee onions, with garlic, bacon and mushrooms, add the green beans, put lid on to simmer for about 10 min.
I like my chips crispy and fried, hence the frying in oil option. You can pop these in the oven to bake too, but not as good!