In my opinion, Christmas dinner should be an absolutely delicious, fragrant meal. At my house, we always begin our Christmas with seafood. Oysters on the half shell and crab crostini pair perfectly with bubbly, sparkling wine. At the table, serve a show-stopping pan roasted beef tenderloin with rosemary and garlic as the main course. A decadent potato gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce is luxurious along side it. Finally, round the menu out with a winter salad and pomegranate dressing. For these savory and stunning recipes,
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
1 tablespoon green peppercorns
1 tablespoon fennel seed, lightly toasted
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 dozen fresh oysters
- In a small bowl, combine peppercorns, fennel seed, vinegars, and salt.
- Shuck oysters just before serving; arrange on bed of crushed ice.
- Drizzle with mignonette, or serve on the side. Serve immediately.
3 garlic cloves
Pinch of kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) high-quality salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Cracked black pepper
Eight 1/4-inch-thick slices baguette
For crab topping:
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 roasted red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon torn fresh basil
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- Make crostini: on a cutting board, finely chop the garlic and sprinkle the salt over it. Keep chopping and smashing the garlic and salt together to make a paste. Use a wide-bladed knife so you can smear the paste along its flat side. You can also do this with a mortar and pestle.
- In a small bowl, mix the butter, lemon juice, and garlic paste. Fold the softened butter over and onto the garlic mixture, mashing it down with the back of a spoon or spatula. Season to taste with pepper and continue folding.
- Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface. Scrape the butter onto the plastic and use the plastic wrap to shape butter into a log, encased in the plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use. If not using within 3 days, you can freeze the garlic butter for up to 2 months. Let the butter soften before using.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Lay the bread on a baking sheet and brush both sides with garlic butter. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes, turning once, until golden brown but not too crispy. Let cool before using.
- Pick through the crabmeat to remove any bits of shell. Transfer to a nonreactive bowl.
- Add the 1/2 cup of olive oil, bell pepper, chives, basil, lemon juice and zest and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Top each crostini with about 1 tablespoon of the crab mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
1 beef tenderloin roast, 2 1/2 to 3 lb.
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
4 shallots, minced
2 cups dry red wine
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Preheat an oven to 400ºF.
- Let the roast stand at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes. Set the roast on a clean work surface and lay the rosemary sprigs lengthwise along the roast. Using kitchen twine, tie the rosemary to the roast at 2-inch intervals. Rub the roast with the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat an oval skillet or large sauté pan over medium-high heat and warm the vegetable oil. Add the roast and brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast, turning the beef occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 125ºF for very rare to rare, 15 to 20 minutes, or until done to your liking. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the shallots and wine and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the butter a few pieces at a time, whisking constantly until blended before adding more. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve and season with salt. Keep warm over very low heat, being careful not to boil.
- Slice the meat and arrange on a warmed platter. Pass the sauce alongside.
Serves 4 to 6.
1 pound baking potatoes, washed
Olive oil, for drizzling, plus 1 teaspoon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large egg
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound Gorgonzola
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Season the potatoes with the oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake until tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- Peel the potatoes, discarding the skin, and place in a bowl.
- Using a ricer, press the baked potato pulp through the ricer, using a medium die, until the potato pulp is smooth and airy. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the egg and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the flour.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup flour on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Turn the dough onto the floured surface and roll into a log, about 1-inch thick. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece across the tines of a fork.
- In a large saucepan, combine the milk, water, 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bring the liquid just to a boil.
- Add the gnocchi and poach for 5 minutes.
- Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and drain.
- Place the cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Whisk in 3/4 of the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook, over low heat, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Toss the gnocchi with the cream sauce. Spoon onto a large serving platter.
- Crumble the remaining Gorgonzola over the gnocchi and garnish with a twist of freshly ground black pepper.
3 medium shallots, 2 thinly sliced and 1 finely chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup bottled pomegranate juice, such as Pom Wonderful
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces spicy salad greens, such as arugula, washed and dried
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
- Separate the sliced shallots into individual rings and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 teaspoon of the olive oil with the chopped shallot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, until limp.
- Add the juice, increase the heat to medium-high and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir as the liquid becomes syrupy to prevent burning. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Add about 1 inch of vegetable oil to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. In a shallow bowl, toss the shallot rings with the flour, then shake in a mesh strainer to get rid of any excess flour. When the oil is hot (it will ripple), add the shallot rings, stirring so they don't stick together.
- Fry until crisp and brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and season with salt.
- When the pomegranate sauce is cool, pour it into a medium bowl. Whisk in the vinegar and a few dashes of salt and pepper, then slowly whisk in the remaining olive oil. Snag a salad leaf and dip it into the dressing to taste. Adjust the salt and pepper.
- Place the greens in a large bowl and dress lightly (you might not need all of the dressing). Divide the greens among 6 plates and top with the fried shallots and pomegranate seeds.