Sonntag, 25. Dezember 2011

Christmas eve dinner

For today I planned on something easy, good to be prepared ahead: Some fish, salad and something sweet. Traditionally christmas eve was part of the lenten season, meat was therefor forbidden. So fish is the right thing to serve for christmas eve but nowadays anything goes.

Some fish: cured salmon, eggs with caviar,sprats, clawfish and in the middle trout mousse

In Germany many families eat potatoe salad and wieners on christmas eve: mom or dad don't have to cook much, children love it and all are having more time to relax and unwrap the gifts, tradionalist will have carp. The really big dinners will take place the first day after christmas eve and on second day. We will do the same.
So we had fish:

Graved lax (cured salmon)
A few days ago I bought a good part of a salmon half and cured it in 4 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons salt (sea salt flakes).  Usually this scandinavian recipe calls for fresh dill but I am not so fond of dill. I switched to spices. Therefor I toasted 3 tablespoons mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon sechzuan pepper, 1 teaspoon allspice and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a pan until fragrant. Afterwards I crushed the spices in a mortar - just a little. I covered the fish half (deboned but with one skin side) on both sides with the sugar /salt and the "meat" side with the spices. Afterwards I wrapped it tightly in foil, set it in a flat tray - meat side down and covered it with another tray. As weight I layered 1 liter bottle mineral water on top. The fish had to rest 2 days in the fridge or cool basement.
salmon just unwrapped

Afterwards I scraped off the spices and rinsed the fish onces with water (maybe not necessary but I don't like it very salty) and pat it dry.  Using a sharp knife I sliced the fish by angular flat cuts in thin slices (off the skin). The fish was firm and nicely deep orange red. Just as it had to be and it was only faintly spiced.

In the mornig I made a mousse of smoked trout fillet. This is so easy, it is done in no time: Just puree smoked trout fillets with a blender while adding a little horseradish (just a few drops lemon juice prevents horseradish from oxidation), a pinch sugar, pepper and  a very little salt. Beat some whipped cream (200 ml cream : 150 g trout). Desolve 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin in 3 tablespoons water and warm this up. Mix it cooled down to lukewarm with the fish and blend in whipped cream (just a few seconds, don't destroy the fluffyness of the whipped cream). Fill in forms. Top later with lingonberry jam.

And I bought some cooked clawfish (without shells) and sprats (Sprotten) small smoked fish -some sort of herring but small as anchovis.

And I made some sauces:
Honey-Mustard sauce: 2 tablespoons dark honey, 1/2 lemon - juice only, 1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard (hot french mustard), 1 tablespoon minced herbs (chives, parsley, tarragon)
Avocado dip:  1 avocado, decored, 1 small spring onion, in slices, 1 jalapeno chilli pepper, sliced,  1 garlic glove, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, pinch salt, 5 date cherry tomatoes, quartered. Just put everything in the blender but not the tomatoes. Blend until smooth, stir in the tomatoe bits.
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon cream- horseradish: just stir.
(Honey-mustard for the salmon, avocado and mayonnaise for clawfish).

And I made some potatoe crisps filled with anchovis:
Cut a big waxy potatoe lengthwise in very thin slices (I used a mandoline). Use only the bigger sized cuts. Powder some starch on each slice. Dip the powdered side of the slice in beaten egg. Cut anchovis (salted should be rinsed in water before) in halves. Layer 1 anchovis half in the middle of one potatoe slice (egg wash side up) put another fitting slice on top (egg wash side down) press to close the slices around the anchovis: Deep fry in oil in two turns. First deep fry until light golden. Just before serving fry until crisp and golden.

And some small potatoe pancakes:
Just grate 3 medium sized waxy potaotes and 1 small carrot and 1 very small onion finely. Stir in a good pinch of salt, some nut meg and pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and the leftover beaten egg from the anchovis crisps. Fry small pancakes  (1 tablespoon batter each) in oil until both sides of the pancakes are golden and crisp - on medium heat. This pancakes are called Kartoffelpuffer (in german) and goe very well with cured salmon. Just top with a few salmon slices and honey mustard sauce. They should be eaten warm. So fry in 2 rounds. First until nearly done, second just before serving.

And I served boiled egg with caviar:
I halved the eggs, mixed the soft cooked yolks with a pinch of mustard,  1 minced anchovis, a little chilli pepper, 2 teaspoons mayonnaise and piped this back into the egg halves and topped this with caviar.

For serving I put all the fish varieties and eggs on a plate. I served the pancakes and crisps on some additional plates and some bread (rye baguette and wheat baguette).
My first share, trout mousse, avocado dip, clawfish and mayonnaise,crisp (n the middle), salmon on pancake
For salad I used some roman lettuce and radicchio in a sweet sour dressing made form honey, white wine vinegar, shallot, salt, pepper, olive oil and toasted walnuts.

Smoked and cured fish will never become friends with red whine. White wine would be ok but we had some beer. This is the best for smoked fish.

Plum Pudding:
For the sweet I reheated plum pudding and served it with brandy cream.
Plum pudding

I made this pudding  a week ago. It is cooked from lots of dried fruits as raisins, plums, corinth, sultanas,  candied orange and - lemon peel, soaked in lots of sherry and a good sip of rum. Breadcrumbs, orange juices, chopped walnuts, treacle and cleared butter, spices as cinnamon, gloves, ginger, star anise, bitter orange peel, orange peel (no beef fat), eggs. This pudding was cooked in a water basin for 5 hours and 2 hours on christmas day. Just before serving you add some brandy and give it a nice burn. I used a  pudding mold (with good closing lid) which is non stick - very convenient.


Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

Thank you for all the descriptions and photos of your Christmas eve dinner!!! Amazing and fascinating!
I wish I weren't on a diet and try making some of your dishes!

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

We had lots of snacks, deer stew, potaoe dumplings and red cabbage the other days. I am going to skip some meals too but christmas is only once a year and therefor not the right time to go for a diet. Diets are always good in January and February (laugh). Yes, January is the best month to pay for sins (after the year end party).

Sissi hat gesagt…

Thank you for the detailed menu. It's always very interesting to see Christmas traditions in other countries. The potato and anchovy crisps sounds delicious!
The plum pudding sounds a bit similar to the English Christmas cake. Very interesting!
I have just thought I haven't had sprats for ages...