Invite another culture to your holiday table this Christmas and impress your dinner guests with a menu filled with Spanish delicacies. In Spain, tradition calls for the gathering of family, friends and neighbors the night before Christmas, called La Noche Buena, where a feast of whole, roasted fish and vegetable paella followed by a sweet dish, like tronco de Navidad, is often served. Satisfy your diners’ cravings for something out of the ordinary with foods rich in flavor and in history.
Whole Roasted Snapper 1 whole snapper (3 to 4 pounds), scaled and gutted 2 red onions, sliced in rings 2 oranges, sliced in rings ¼ cup red wine vinegar 5 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon black pepper 10 bay leaves 2 cups white wine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine onions, oranges, vinegar, oil, garlic, oregano and bay leaves. Make three diagonal slices about ½ inch deep on each side of the fish. Season both the outside and inside of the fish with salt and pepper. Place a third of the onion mixture inside the body cavity and another third of the mixture in the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold the whole fish. Add fish and cover with remaining third of onion mixture. Pour wine over the top and place in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the middle of the fish reads 165 degrees. Serve over a bed of paella or directly from the baking dish.
Makes 6 servings
See Josh's process of preparing this whole yellow snapper with vivid, step-by-step photos here!
Vegetable Paella 1 tablespoon minced garlic 3 tablespoons minced shallots 1 stick butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cups Arborio rice 5 cups chicken broth Pinch of saffron ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated Salt and pepper to taste In-season vegetables and tomatoes
Add saffron to chicken broth and let bloom for 5 minutes. Melt half of the butter in a 4-to 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil with the shallots and garlic. Cook until the shallots turn translucent. Add Arborio rice and cook for about 3 minutes. Do not let the rice brown; reduce heat if necessary. Pour about a third of the broth in the pan and stir constantly. As the rice begins to cook and absorb the liquid, add more broth, about ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until all the broth is absorbed. Check the rice for doneness. It should be tender without being mushy. If it’s still crunchy, add more broth or water and cook until tender. Stir in the other half of the butter with salt and pepper. Serve with roasted or grilled in-season vegetables and fresh tomatoes.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Tronco de Navidad Cake 3.5 ounces flour 3.5 ounces raw sugar 3 large eggs separated 1 teaspoon baking powder Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with parchmentpaper. In a mixer with the whip attachment, beat egg whites and 2 tablespoons of sugar together until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks and remaining sugar until smooth and the mixture has increased in size. Sift flour and baking powder into the egg yolks and gently fold in the egg whites. Spread evenly on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Dust a separate sheet of parchment paper with powdered sugar. Flip the finished cake onto the dusted paper. Gently roll the cake and let rest rolled up.
Put milk, cornstarch, eggs and sugar in a blender and purée till smooth. Pour into a sauce pan and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Allow to cool. Unroll the cake, spread the cream evenly onto it and reroll. Melt 7 ounces of chocolate and 2 ounces of butter in a microwave for 30 seconds at full power and stir until smooth. Pour over roll and allow to cool completely before serving.