I'm not kidding. This is it. Most LAZY and most DELICIOUS dinner party ever!
You know how I love all things Italian. Well, the Italian tradition is seafood for Christmas fare. So, Cioppino is a very popular Christmas dish.
Well, Best Boyfriend in the Whole Wide World, Aaron, found the ultimate most amazing Cioppino recipe by none other than the Genius Giada. She's the best -- simple, easy, fresh, textural. And in this one, FENNEL and RED PEPPER FLAKES are the two ingredients that kick it up several delicioso notches. Unbelievable.
And, this is how this works into a dinner party. If you are a couple this works incredibly well because you can literally start the entire dinner party about an hour and a half before people come and still have time to shower, change and relax with a glass of wine before your guests arrive.
How we worked it -- he cooked the Cioppino -- which is unbelievably easy -- while I set the table, made the salad, and prepped the bread. I made the Tiramisu ahead of time only because it's better when it soaks in but if you start two hours ahead you can even make Tiramisu too because it literally takes about 20 minutes to put a Tiramisu together.
I have to admit we have done this same menu twice in the last week. Last night we made it for a friend who is recovering from the flu (he's not really sick, just still congested) and this soup just has a way of feeling soothing and nurturing, let alone scrumptious for the soul!
Menu: Salad (I used butter lettuce, arugula, chopped mushrooms, thinly sliced cucumber, toasted parmesan almonds, shaved parmesan, lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper), Big warm crusty bread (that I sliced in big hunks, put butter in between slices, rubbed olive oil on the outside, and baked for about 10 minutes to melt all the buttery oil juiciness in) and Cioppino. Nice red wine, ice water with lemon...and I put a big hunk of lemon on the plate under the bowl so people could squeeze their own lemon on top of the soup.
This is not only an elegant meal -- for eating soup after all -- but all the various seafood textures and tastes make it so rich and nearly decadent. It is a celebration unto itself.
Perfect holiday fare ...but also perfect for any winter celebration -- even for two!