For Japanese style recipes and food info go to

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Feast of the Seven Fishes

Well, to be truly accurate it was four fishes, one cephalopod, a crustacean and a mollusk..... but let's not pick nits.

Although my ethnicity involves more cross breeding than your average shelter dog, the 25% Italian component has always dominated our family identity and traditions. It just wouldn't be Christmas Eve in our family without a major seafood feast. Normally, this would be held at my father's house in New Jersey, but this year Chiko and I are hosting the holidays.

Being married to the hardest working and prettiest fishmonger in the world means that I have access to an incredible bounty of maritime ingredients. While I did not have time to document every step of each dish, I will run down the menu and if any readers want to post a request for the recipes I'll follow up in a later post.

For starters, my dad made a seafood timbale of flounder and salmon filled with scallops cooked in Pernod.

Next came baby octopus which I barbecued briefly and then marinated overnight in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.

Portuguese style cod poached in olive oil.

Tuna and salmon sashimi by chef Chiko!

And last but not least Gambas al Ajillo (Spanish style shrimp in garlic, olive oil and smoked paprika). Wash that all down with a couple bottles of Pinot Grigio and it was no wonder I woke up face down in front of the roaring fireplace with the dogs snuggled up against me!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Spent another weekend with our friends Mark and Sylvia in Peschiera, and we were going to be hosting dinner for some other friends so I needed to come up with something that would blow their minds. I've been thinking for awhile about trying a Turducken, which is a Cajun dish involving a chicken stuffed into a duck which is then stuffed into a turkey. (For a good description and photos of this dish check out

Jumped in the car and headed down to our friendly butcher Piero (see my previous post I have always known Turducken as a Cajun dish, but Piero told us that in the nearby town of Mantova, there was a medieval dish of multiple birds stuffed one inside of another and roasted. They would start with a tiny bird like a sparrow and do as many as twenty progressively larger birds, culminating in a swan!

He didn't have any turkeys or swans, so we went with a quail, a chicken and a duck and dubbed it "quaducken". Piero deboned the birds by removing the spine, opening it up like a book by cracking the sternum and pulling out the ribs, wings and leg bones. We ended up with three totally deboned birds ready for stuffing. I layed the duck on my board, skin side down and seasoned it with salt, pepper, rosemary sage and olive oil.

Next I layed the chicken on top of it. To try to keep the thickness of the overall roll even, I reversed the orientation of the birds so that the chicken's tail side was aligned with the ducks neck.

Repeated the same seasonings and then layered the quail on top and seasoned it as well.

Next I took some fresh pork sausage and spread it on the quail.

I rolled the roast and tied it, then placed it on the rotisserie spit and we cooked over medium coals (325 degrees) for an hour and half and took it off when it registered 16o in the center.

Took it off and rested it then sliced cross wise and served.