People have been enjoying food from the sea since the beginning of time. Many think seafood fresh from the markets is the best treat of all for Christmas. I know because I live very near a great fish market and it is always packed with shoppers in the lead-up to Christmas. Make sure you choose the best for this recipe.
- 3 cooked crayfish
- 1 kg large king prawns, cooked
- 6 cooked Balmain bugs
- 24 fresh oysters in the half shell
- 6 slices smoked salmon
- 3 lemons, cut into wedges
- dipping sauces, green salad, potato salad, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Split the crayfish in two. Lift out the crayfish meat with fingers, slice into chunky pieces and return to the shells. Crack any claws and keep them for plate decoration.
Shell the prawns, leaving the head and tail intact. Slit down the back and remove the black tract.
Place the bugs upside down on a chopping board, cut in half lengthwise, remove any intestinal matter from the tails.
Arrange the seafood on a large platter or two. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.
Make the dips and store in bowls, covered with plastic wrap. Inexpensive tiny dishes are available from many kitchen shops; if liked, purchase a dozen or two and allow individual bowls for dipping.
Chill the green salad without dressing – this can be added at the last moment. Make the potato salad, but do not refrigerate.
To serve, make sure there is clear space on the table for the large platters and salads. If preferred, individual dinner plates can be made up of an assortment of seafood. The dipping sauces can be placed in bowls to pass around or in individual dishes on each plate. Don’t forget the lemon wedges. Include a few bowls to take any shells or heads and a few finger bowls with a slice of lemon to wash fishy fingers, and plenty of large paper napkins. Small entrée plates can be offered for salads if liked.
Hot cocktail sauce: Combine ¾ cup mayonnaise with 2 tbsp tomato sauce, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp sambal oelek in a bowl and serve.
Chilli mint sauce: Combine ⅓ cup sweet chilli sauce, the juice and rind of 1 lime, 1 tsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp water and 2 tsp finely chopped coriander or Vietnamese mint in a bowl and serve.
Recipe from Margaret Fulton Christmas by Margaret Fulton, with photographs by Mark Roper. Published by Hardie Grant Books.