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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Presenting Feast of Seven Fishes

A few years ago, I wrote an article on the Feast of the Seven Fishes. It’s an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition where a meal consisting of seven seafood dishes is served. When I did the last one, I only included three dishes. This time I want to take it further.

This year, over the course of three articles, I will present a New Orleans style Feast of the Seven Fishes. These Creole and Cajun style dishes use seafood that are local to the Gulf Coast. The great thing about them is that you are able to find these ingredients locally.

Today’s part of the menu are two dishes that can be served as appetizers. I have a big appetite but would have a very hard time of finishing this feast if it were seven entree sized portions. The first one is a fried Alligator Fritter. The second one uses the most popular seafood, Shrimp Rehoboth. They are both great ways to start any meal, but don’t take my word for it. Gather up your ingredients, and Let’s head to the kitchen.

Alligator Fritters

I think this is a great way to start off your feast. I remember seeing this dish on a cruise menu as a Rare Find, something you have always wanted to try but haven’t. Here’s my interpretation of that dish. It’s best served with Creole mustard as a dipping sauce.

1 pound alligator tail meat, finely ground

1 onion, chopped fine

1 green bell pepper, chopped fine

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Canola oil

Grind the alligator or pulverize in a food processor. Add the chopped onion, pepper and minced garlic and pulverize with the alligator in the machine. Sift the flour with the baking powder, mace, dry mustard and Creole seasoning. Beat the eggs. Add the flour mixture. Add the melted butter and Worcestershire, and combine with the alligator mixture. Pour canola into a skillet 1 -inch deep. Heat to 380°F . Drop the batter 1 tablespoon at a time into the hot oil, turning the fritters over with a slotted spoon as they brown. Remove when browned on all sides.

Shrimp Rehoboth

Here’s a dish that I started working on in New Orleans and completed here in Arkansas. Since the final dish was perfected here in Searcy, I named it after the street I live on. It is also great with chicken.

Sweet Red Dressing

½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon onion salt

½ cup ketchup

½ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup canola oil

2 drops of Sriracha sauce

Combine all ingredients.

24 raw medium shrimp, peeled

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

8 strips green bell pepper

8 strips red bell pepper

8 strips red onion

Sweet Red Dressing

Marinate vegetables in ½ cup of the sweet red dressing. Over medium

heat, melt butter in a large sauté pan. Sprinkle Creole seasoning over

the shrimp and toss to coat. Add the shrimp and vegetables to the pan

and sauté until the shrimp are almost done, about 4 minutes. Add the

rest of the red dressing and cook until the sauce is warm and coating

the shrimp and vegetables.

My next article in this series will contain three of my favorite seafoods, crab, oysters, and crawfish. Then, I will end the series with two actual fish dishes. I don’t want to spoil the surprise of what those dishes are. You’ll have to come back see what I have cooking. I’ll also give a little more background on the Feast itself. Until next time, Happy Cooking, Happy Eating and Happy Living

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