Chef Bobby Flay has just the recipe for a joyous holiday meal, custom made for Christmas 2020.
All right, let's face it: We've had a year of scary moments. Some clearly were more dire than others. We've all had to make adjustments from what was considered the norm just nine months ago.
My Thanksgiving went from my usual 30-40 guests down to three. Our turkeys were smaller and our side dishes were few. Lots of people I know attempted to create the classic holiday feel by roasting chickens or Cornish game hens. Another friend of mine actually suggested making turkey meatloaf as an alternative. I mean, c'mon. She knows who she is, but I won't mention her name.
Anyway, as Christmas approaches and the news of vaccines has put hope on the horizon, let's will our way back to the road of normalcy by way of our stoves. Please don't roast a bunch of beets and put them in the center of your holiday table.
To help create the holiday table we all deserve, here's my playbook:
If Christmas Eve is your main event, then go Italian. The Feast of Seven Fishes is the most festive. Use three in a pasta dish, like squid, crab and shrimp. Steam a bowl of mussels with tomato sauce and white wine. And then, roast a tuna steak or a swordfish steak with lemon and capers, and you're done. All right, that's only, like, five or six, but really, who's counting?
For Christmas dinner, here are three classic options: A prime rib of beef, a baked ham, or a roasted turkey.
Let's start with the turkey. I season it with salt and pepper, put it into a roasting pan, and kick it into the oven. I roast it on lower heat than most recipes call for, so that the white and the dark meat cook more evenly. Let the turkey rest for an hour, carve, make some gravy, and serve!
A baked ham is the easiest. Make sure the ham you buy is already cooked. It needs a creative glaze so it can become a caramelized masterpiece. I'm using apricot jam, brown sugar and mustard in mine. A platter of sliced baked ham and "Jingle Bells" spilling out of your speakers spells Christmas all day long.
How about a prime rib of beef? I roast it in a crust of kosher salt and stud it with fresh garlic cloves. I blast it on high temperature to get it nice and crusty, and then I turn down the heat just to let it cook through evenly.
My table will be attended by less people this year so this roast will last me for a few days. Prime Rib Hash with Eggs the next day for brunch will definitely be happening in the Flay household.
Here's a thought, it's very well documented that my brothers and sisters in the restaurant business are struggling without exception from coast to coast. To help them out, order your side dishes and desserts from your local places. Sounds like a win-win to me.
I want my table to feel especially abundant this year with some things that I crave, and right now I'm craving "normal." Maybe next year when our world seems right again, I'll feel like being a little more daring and my "alternative" juices will start flowing. Roasted beets, anyone?
(Not in MY house!)
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Story produced by Aria Shavelson. Editor: Chad Cardin.