Choosing your menu
The next issue is what to cook. With so much eating and drinking going on, make a lighter start on Christmas Eve. Think about fish pie, which can easily be made in advance and frozen until you’re ready to warm it up and serve.
Fill it with delicious smoked haddock, salmon, cod and eggs in a rich, creamy sauce, topped with creamy mashed potatoes and grated cheddar cheese. Fish pie is a comforting dish that’s always a real crowd pleaser.
When it comes to Christmas Day, what about smoked salmon slices or pan-fried scallops for a starter? They’re quick and easy to prepare, with minimum fuss.
For the main course, it’s not all about turkey. Salmon is always a big favourite and it’s so versatile there are countless options of how to serve it.
A whole roasted salmon really has the wow factor and would make an equally impressive centrepiece to a special meal to celebrate new year. Stuff the fish with lemon and herbs and serve with basil mayo and chilli salsa. For a perfectly cooked fish you could bake the salmon is a thick layer of rock salt.
A less daunting prospect for some is a whole side of salmon – bake it in tinfoil with butter, your choice of fresh herbs and lemon slices.
Don’t pass the parcel
With a buttery, herby taste and delicious moist flesh inside, salmon en croute never fails to impress, especially when carved at the table.
In Fish and Shellfish (BBC Books, 2014), Rick Stein has a recipe for salmon en croute with currants and ginger that’s rich and filling and also has the perfect ingredients to add a festive touch. Using two 550g skinned salmon fillets, it can easily feed six people.
“Season salmon fillets. Mix softened butter with stem ginger, currants, mace, salt and pepper. Spread the inner face of one salmon fillet evenly with the butter mixture and lay the second fillet on top.
“Roll out the pastry and create a salmon parcel. Chill for at least an hour.
“Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark six and put in a large baking sheet to warm up. Remove the salmon en croute from the fridge and brush all over with beaten egg.
“Take the hot baking sheet out of the oven and carefully transfer the salmon parcel on to it. Return it to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the core temperature reaches 55C using a thermometer.
“Remove the salmon en croute and leave to rest for five minutes. Transfer it to a warm serving plate and take it to the table whole. Cut it across into slices and serve.”
Whether you choose a whole salmon or whole side of salmon, you’re guaranteed to have leftovers. Provided you’ve been careful not to overcook the salmon, the moist, flavoursome flakes are a delight eaten cold with oatcakes, crispbreads or blinis.
For an alternative to salmon, consider sea bass cooked in puff pastry, served with salsa verde, steamed greens and buttered potatoes.
Take it easy on Boxing Day and serve party canapés such as smoked salmon slices with horseradish sauce or smoked salmon blinis. They’re impressive, elegant nibbles, especially accompanied by a glass of bubbly.
Or embrace Scandi culture and serve boards of smoked salmon slices with rye bread, beetroot salad and bowls of hot potatoes on the side. A buffet spread could also include other smoked fish such as haddock and mackerel, served in mini dishes or cooked to perfection in bite-size canapés.
If you have any leftover smoked salmon slices, use them to make a smoked salmon tart from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course (BBC Books, 1989).
“Simply arrange chopped smoked salmon evenly over the base of a pre-cooked quiche pastry, then beat up eggs and cream with a seasoning of salt, milled black pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Pour in the filling and dust the surface with no more than a generous pinch of cayenne. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the centre is set.”
For a luxurious lunch or a tasty supper over the holidays, it’s hard to beat kedgeree. Filling, nutritious and packed with flavour, it’s the perfect antidote to all the Christmas feasting. Use our peat-smoked haddock fillets to infuse the dish with that sweet, smoky taste.
The last word
Whatever you choose to treat yourself and your loved ones to this Christmas and new year, everyone at Fresh Fish Daily hopes you have a wonderful time.
Merry Christmas and happy new year!