The Christmas season is filled with gatherings of friends and family. And that means there are plenty of opportunities for cooking for groups, both large and small. Tradition in the West has often demanded that cooks consider fowl for the Christmas table: goose, turkey, and duck all play a role in Christmas dinner menus. But there are other options, too: ham is traditional in many circles and so is roast beef. And no Italian-American Christmas Eve would be complete without a meal centered on the sea and la Festa dei sette pesci.
No matter how you celebrate, everyone at The Spice House wishes you and your family a delicious holiday and a spicy New Year.
Feast of the Seven Fishes
On Christmas Eve, many Italian families in America host a meal featuring seven different seafood dishes. The challenge for a grand meal like this is to honor the differences in the fishes and to highlight their individual flavors. And there’s probably no better way to focus on the delicate flavor of a fish like Branzino (European Sea Bass) than to cook it over a charcoal fire. Our recipe uses our Mediterannean Garlic and Herb Blend with its bold lemon flavor with hints of oregano and mint. It’s salt-free, so don’t forget to kiss your fish when it comes off the grill with a touch of fleur de sel.
The Christmas Goose, Turkey, or Duck
There’s always the risk that Christmas dinner can feel like a repeat of Thanksgiving, so if you’re doing a turkey, think about changing the spice rub: Bicentennial Game Rub, Gateway to the North Maple Garlic Seasoning, and Ras el Hanout will all help this bird stand out from the one last month. But remember: brining a turkey will ensure that it is moist and flavorful when it comes to the table.
Goose or Duck would both handle our Caribbean Citrus Chile Rub with its festive blend of lime, lemon, and orange (and a dash of nutmeg and cayenne.) or how about our Lake Shore Drive Shallot and Herb Seasoning?
Christmas Dinner Prime Rib Roast
For some families, a Christmas Dinner would not be complete without a Prime Rib Roast and our English Prime Rib Rub makes the perfect bark on an oven-roasted piece of beef. Our blend includes Kosher salt, celery seed, sugar, onion, pepper, and garlic and it produces a crust that will have folks fighting for an end piece while producing seasoned pan drippings ready to concoct a winning gravy.
Wonderful Vegetarian Dishes
Vegetable-forward dishes can take center stage with pride on your Christmas Dinner table. We have a number of suggestions we think you’ll enjoy, including a Moroccan Orange Salad with its bold taste of cinnamon; an Argentine-Style Grilled Eggplant with oregano, basil, thyme, and sweet or hot paprika; and a Ratatouille recipe from our friend Chef Ina Pinkney that uses our Summer Garden Salt-Free Herb Blend — a delightful memory of summer in the midst of winter. Ahhh...
A Dessert of Poached Pears
Dessert on this first Day of Christmas might as well take advantage of all those pear trees the partridges are roosting in. Our recipe for Garam Masala Poached Pears is subtle and rich, and so, so easy to prepare: with the warming flavors perfect for the season. Garam Masala hand-mixed from coriander, cardamom, Tellicherry pepper, cinnamon, nigella seed, caraway, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
The Christmas Dinner Table
Like so many of our holidays, Christmas centers on the table and sharing meals and stories and the legends that make our lives rich and meaningful. As you hang around the kitchen this Christmas, cherish the company of family and friends, toast your absent loved ones, and trust you are nurturing a new generation of food lovers who will tell your stories in their kitchens long into the future.
Article by Seán Collins, Staff Writer