Tour guide

No boarding passes are required to enjoy an internationally inspired Christmas feast of European delights.

By Phyllis Stein-Novack

Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Dec. 20, 2012

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been asking friends about their family Christmas dinners. Since Americans have roots in many nations, the family’s ethnic background often takes front and center in the holiday meal.

Southern Italians feast on fish Christmas Eve but turn to turkey or ham on Christmas Day. My Greek friend Effie said duck with chestnut stuffing is not unusual on the Greek Christmas dinner table while those with British, Irish and Scottish roots turn to pork loin or a crown roast of pork.

This year, you may wish to take a tour around the world for Christmas dinner. Last week, I made langoustine etouffe, a Louisiana dish, which was originally made with crayfish. I found frozen langoustine tails at Trader Joe’s and played with the recipe. Why not add it to your Christmas Eve fish feast? It also can be made with popcorn shrimp.

Boneless duck breast is a favorite in our house. Its rich flavor plays off splendidly with any type of sauce or spiced fruit. Use the rendered duck fat to sauté potatoes or turnips and include them on the plate.

Smoked Scottish salmon is served during the holidays throughout the United Kingdom. It is very expensive so why not make gravlax, the salt and sugar cured salmon which Swedes enjoy as an appetizer? It is a quick and easy recipe but must be made several days in advance.

Langoustine n
or Popcorn Shrimp Etouffe


1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 large yellow pepper, seeded and diced

1 large orange pepper, seeded and diced

1 large onion, diced

2 shallots, diced

4 ribs of celery, diced

4 fat garlic cloves, sliced

Enough Canola oil to coat the bottom of a large pot

3 pounds langoustine tails or popcorn shrimp

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Pinch of dried thyme

2 large bay leaves

3 heaping tablespoons of flour

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

2 cups of chicken stock

1 cup of dry white wine


Place all of the vegetables in a bowl and toss well.

Heat the oil over medium-high. Add the vegetables and sauté them for about eight minutes. Add the langoustine tails or shrimp and sauté for about three minutes. Add the seasonings and toss well.

Lower the heat to medium and sprinkle on the flour. Stir to coat well and insure the flour is cooked. Add the butter and stir until it dissolves.

Add all of the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Serve over steamed rice.

Serves four to six.

Seared Duck Breast


3 8-ounce boneless duck breasts

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

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