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I'm a lifelong storyteller and wanna-be chef. You've seen my work on Food Network and PBS to name a few.  My favorite stories revolve around travel and food.

 

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Mom’s Christmas Eve Seafood Sauce


This recipe is the centerpiece of our annual Feast of the Seven Fishes Christmas Eve dinner.  My mom gave me the recipe as she wrote it down from my grandmother.  When I start this sauce each year, the aroma takes me back home to Christmas Eve in my Mom’s kitchen.  It’s an intense memory that is forever associated with incredible flavors and aroma from this sauce.  This recipe makes a LOT of sauce, enough to feed the neighborhood.  See the notes below about cutting down the recipe and what to do with the leftovers.



Ingredients


1/2 bushel Littleneck Clams 3 lbs Mussels 2 Lobster Tails 2 lb Shrimp 2 lb Fresh Fish (Talapia, Sole, Catfish, etc….) 1 lb Calamari sliced Garlic in Oil 2 full cans of Progresso white clam sauce 4 – 28oz cans whole tomatoes 2 – 14.5oz cans Diced Tomatoes 1-2 tablespoons of sugar Fresh Basil Crushed Hot Pepper



Instructions


Clean all of the seafood, including scrubbing the shells of the clams and mussels. Devein the shrimp. Remove the lobster meat from the lobster tail. Cut into thick slices. Set all of the seafood aside in the refrigerator.

Steam the clams and mussels in garlic, wine, butter. Strain the broth in the pot from the clams and mussels and reserve to add to the sauce. Remove the meat from the clams and mussels and put aside in the refrigerator.

In a really really large stock pot, lightly brown the garlic in oil. Add the full can of white clam sauce. Add the strained clams. Bring to a light boil. Add all of the Tomatoes and the Sugar, turn the heat down to medium low. Crush the whole tomatoes with your hands or the back of a wooden spoon. Add fresh basil to taste Add Crushed Hot Pepper to taste. Let simmer at least 2 hours over low to medium heat. A slow boil is fine, but you don’t want this on a rolling boil for hours.

One hour before serving – add Lobster Tail(s) and a ladle of the reserved clam / mussel broth. 30 minutes before serving – pan fry the Calamari rings in a little oil and then add to the sauce straight from teh pan with the oil. 15 minutes before serving – add the steamed clams and mussels along with the shrimp and fresh fish.

Serve over 2 – 3 pounds of fresh linguine.



Notes


You can steam the mussels and clams up to 2 days in advance and they will keep in the fridge.  Here’s my handy tip on doing that.


This recipe will literally feed the neighborhood so I make a 1/2 batch and that serves 20 people easily. You can keep this in the fridge for up to two days but then you’ll want to start freezing the leftovers.


Unfortunately this sauce does not freeze all that well as is but you CAN turn it into this awesome Seafood Stew from Ina Garten and that freezes really well. Depending on how much sauce you still have left over, adjust Ina’s recipe based on how much fish and tomatoes you still have. Generally I’ll add 2 onions and one more can of tomatoes, but no more seafood because there’e plenty of it in here. The extra flavors of the wine and the onion really help this to freeze extremely well and it comes back as a very flavorful stew for those chilly nights.

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