Feast of the Favorite Fishes

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A play on the Italian tradition of eating the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, our feast of lobster, jumbo shrimp and jumbo scallops is a much easier and lighter alternative to the customary fried fish dishes. Simply wrap a split lobster tail,  2-3 jumbo shrimp and 3-4 large scallops in foil with minced garlic, butter, lemon and any favorite spices. Roast in the oven or if you live in a warm climate, throw the packets on the grill until done. The lobster is done when the meat turns opaque and the shell blushes pinkish red. Don’t overcook it or it will be dry.

What makes this meal stand apart from other shellfish dinners is the vegetables. I have become disillusioned with seeing steamed broccoli and a baked potato with butter and sour cream as the pairing for lobster. It’s boring, it’s been done to death, and usually, the plate that you have spent a large sum to be served at a seafood restaurant tends to look rather empty. To combat the old hat, we grilled up thin-sliced veggies of all kinds from sweet potatoes to baby bok choy, asparagus spears, nopales, chayote squash, Japanese eggplant, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, whatever we could get our hands on at the market. For extra flavor, we brushed them with grape seed oil (you can also use olive oil or coconut oil) and fruit juice (we used nectarine because they were still available, but apple, grape or pear juice would be just as tasty.) We used our outdoor barbecue grill, but a panini press will work, as will roasting the veggies on a lined baking pan in the oven at 375° until browned and slightly crispy.

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Instead of dipping bites of lobster into a butter bath, we brushed on a light coating of pesto sauce, which proved to be a delightful change from the norm. However, if you prefer drawn butter, just melt it and skim off the solids. Garnish with lemon and lime slices, and a confetti of red cabbage and sliced chives or scallions.

While this is more of a free-form narration than a step-by-step recipe, every bit of information you need is here to cook this fanciful feast.

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