Today Emeril sat down with fellow chef and fishing enthusiast Dave Pasternack of New York City's Esca and Il Pesce restaurants to talk about cooking the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve. Emeril makes a Portguese version for his family, Dave does a deluxe Italian menu at Esca, and they'll both be doing a lot of fishing themselves over the holiday if all goes well.
If you missed the boat, here are a few of Dave's top fish tips.
- When frying fish, you'll get perfect results if you use a blend of 70% olive oil and 30% canola oil and cook at 275 degrees until crisp. Dave knows what you're thinking - he's crazy, that's too low and too slow! The man does run the best seafood restaurant in New York City, so I'm inclined to hear him out on this one.
- When cooking octopus, add a handful of wine corks to the pot. It's an old Mediterranean trick for tenderizing it and both Dave and Emeril swear by it.
- To keep fish from sticking to grills and grill pans, take it out of the fridge half an hour before cooking and rest it on paper towels to absorb moisture.
- Though Dave gets fresh fish daily at his restaurants, it's fine for home cooks to shop on Wednesday for Friday night's dinner as long as the fish are stored well. He recommends using Ziploc bags and pushing as much air out as possible and placing them into the coldest part of the fridge. If you're worried it's not cold enough, stack a bowl on a bowl filled with ice and put the fish in there.
- Red wine can pair with heartier fish, especially if there's a tomato sauce involved. Follow the "if it grows together, it goes together" principle and look for light to medium-bodied reds from Italy's coastal wine regions to pair with rich roasted or stewed dishes.
The whole show replays at 7 pm ET tonight and at 10 am ET on Saturday. On Thursday we'll be sharing a classic show with Mr. Chocolate himself, Jacques Torres, joining Emeril to talk about holiday candies and baked treats.