Christmas is almost here, and that means some iconic traditions, such as Santa Claus, in his red coat and black belt. It means Christmasy scenes on cards, and singing Jingle Bells with family and friends. It means lights, inside and out, and decorations galore. But the timing of Christmas in Australia means the creation of a few traditions of our own, and one of those is seafood.
While turkey and ham are still staples at almost any holiday feast, the summer season and the close proximity to the ocean allow for fresh seafood on Christmas Day. From scallops and prawns to oysters and lobster, people are reaching for the fresh seafood and produce from their local markets.
Just look at the annual Sydney Fish Market Christmas seafood marathon. It’s expected that more than 120 tonnes of prawns and 70,000 dozen oysters will be sold over 36 hours immediately prior to Christmas. They provide seafood to local patrons, vendors, and people driving from miles around to shop at their market. If that doesn’t say fresh seafood, nothing does.
But once we have all that fresh seafood in our refrigerator, just what are we supposed to do with it? Cooking seafood can seem scary if you’ve never done it before or are relatively new at it. But it’s really quite simple. Seafood cooks fast, taking only a few minutes, really, on the heat.
Here are a couple of recipes to get you started on – or to change up – your Christmas seafood tradition.
Scallops and mangos are both common in Australia. Why not put them together for the perfect Christmas feast? This simple recipe infuses some mango and red pepper, adding a sweet and spicy flavour to your delicate scallops.
- Dry scallops by patting with a paper towel.
- Using a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add scallops to pan and cook 1-2 minutes on each side or until firm and a nice golden brown colour. Remove scallops from pan.
- Put onion in skillet; cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and pepper flakes to the skillet; cook 1 minute longer.
- Add pineapple juice to the pan and bring to a boil. Simmer until juice is reduced by half. Stir in the mango chutney.
- Return scallops to skillet and gently coat them with sauce. Heat through.
- Serve with cooked rice; sprinkle with cilantro.
No Christmas feast would be complete without prawns at the table. This simple, lively recipe mixes up the flavours and adds a different vibe to your meal.
- Preheat large wok or skillet.
- Add oil and garlic. Saute until light golden (20-25 seconds).
- Add chillies and cook another 10-20 seconds
- Add prawns. Toss or stir gently to combine ingredients in pan.
- Salt and pepper lightly and continue to cook until prawns are opaque (2-3 minutes).
- Add Coriander, stir gently for 10 seconds or until wilted.
- Serve immediately with lime slices and extra Coriander.
Serve with rice, bread, or your favourite vegetables on the side.