Spending Christmas at the seaside has a very unique charm. How can one not be inspired by the beautiful colours of the ocean, the stretches of beach with dreamy dunes and refreshing breezes on hot summer’s days?
Enjoying a relaxed Christmas along the coast does not have to compromise on a beautiful and special event. Get inspiration from our seaside festive table with its rough wooden texture decorated by treasures from the ocean. Encourage family and friends to forage for the centre piece decorations of sea shells and pieces of dried drift wood. Use tones of turquoise, silver, grey and light blue with simple greenery such as little succulents harvested from the dunes. Make your own sea shell candles (see below), add beautiful stemware and the scene is set. But what will we be serving at our breezy seeaside-inspired table?
Chef Pieter shares a delightful recipe for steamed yellowtail to be served with Cellarmaster Eugene van Zyl’s suggestion for Culinaria Chenin Blanc Grenache Blanc.
DIY: make your own candles in sea shells:
Makes 10 shell candles
You need 10 shallow sea shells, cleaned and dried. Melt 2 normal household candles over a low heat in a small sauce pan. (Use an old saucepan as the wax can damage it.) Cut 10 pieces of 10 cm kitchen string and tie them to kebab sticks leaving a long overhang. Fill the candles with the melted wax and suspend a piece of string with the end hanging in the wax over each shell (we used glasses on either side to suspend the kebab sticks). Leave until the wax has set completely and decorate the table with the shell candles.
Recipe for steamed yellowtail, wrapped in spinach served on crushed potatoes
1 yellowtail fish of approx. 900 g
8 spinach leaves or Swiss chard
4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
50 g Danish-style feta
10 g chopped dill
100 ml Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Chenin Blanc Grenache Blanc
Squeeze of 2 lemons
4 garlic cloves, sliced
50 g butter
Mixed garden herbs
(thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, coriander)
Salt and coarse black pepper
Chive crushed potatoes
12 to 15 baby potatoes
1tablespoon rock salt
80 ml clarified butter
30 ml white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons snipped chives
Salt and pepper
4 asparagus spears
Get a pot of boiling water ready for blanching.
Pour 2 cups of water into a different pot and bring to the boil. Place a bamboo steamer over the boiling water.
If you do not have a bamboo steamer, preheat the oven to 200 °C and line an oven pan with enough foil to create a steaming parcel.
Clean the fish by scraping off the scales. Cut out the fillets and remove all the excess fat and skin. Cut the fillets into 150 gram portions, season and set aside.
Blanch spinach leaves by placing them into the boiling water for about 2 minutes, then refresh them in the ice-water. Squeeze out the excess water, unfold the leaves on a cutting board and place the fish on top of the leaves.
Place the sun-dried tomato, Danish feta and dill on top of the one fillet and cover with the other fillet. Carefully wrap the fish with the spinach leaves and season the parcel with salt and pepper. Secure the parcel by inserting toothpicks into the ends of the leaves.
If using a bamboo steamer, fold a foil basket and place the fish inside. Then add the white wine, lemon juice, butter and garlic for enhanced flavour.
Place the herbs on the bottom compartment of the bamboo steamer to allow the steam to infuse the herb aroma into the fish.
Place the foil parcel onto the top compartment of the bamboo steamer. Close the lid on the steamer and allow the fish to steam for 7 to10 minutes.
If using the oven, place the spinach-wrapped fish into the lined-out pan. Add the white wine, lemon juice, garlic, butter and herbs.
Close the foil parcel so that it forms a steam compartment for the fish to cook and place into the oven. Bake for approx. 15 minutes.
Chive crushed potatoes
Place the potatoes and rock salt into a heavy-based saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Strain the potatoes from the water. Give the pot a quick rinse.
Peel the potatoes, transfer them back into the pot and add the clarified butter. Using a fork, crush the potatoes against the side of the pot. Once crushed, add the vinegar and chives and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Be careful not to overwork the potatoes at this stage, as you do not want them to turn into mash potatoes. Blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes and refresh in the ice-water. Heat a frying pan with a nob of butter and slightly fry the asparagus and season to taste.
Serve the steamed yellowtail on the crushed potatoes with a glass of Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Chenin Blanc Grenache Blanc.
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