Celebrations on the Half Shell

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This time of year, turkeys and hams get a lot of love, they are the go-to centerpiece for most holiday gatherings, but there are so many other options just across from the Market in the Seafood department it seems unfair not to mention a few favorites.

All over Italy on Christmas Eve, families gather around a table laden with a centuries-old feast. The menu differs from region to region and family to family, but The Feast of Seven Fishes is a tradition celebrated by Italians and those of Italian heritage alike.  To get a taste of the feast, consider a few recipes from Mary Lanzi-Martini, the manager of the Cooking School in San Antonio, who cooks the feast for her family each year.

The Italians are not the only ones to enjoy the bounty of the sea this time of year, Oysters are de rigueur for Christmas and New Year's celebrations in France. In winter, outdoor food markets and restaurants display icy platters of freshly shucked oysters decorated with bright yellow wedges of lemon. And on Christmas Eve, the French, Portuguese, and some New Orleans natives serve oysters and other luxurious treats such as lobster and escargot at a dinner known as Réveillon, which comes from the French word for "waking" as the dinner involves staying awake until midnight and beyond.

The last night of the night of the year is a time to summon good fortune for the year to come and to splurge a little. Oysters on the half shell washed down with white wine or Champagne are part of the celebration once again in France. While in my opinion there is no luxury so simple as a perfectly steamed lobster. You can pick them up live in store or let us steam them for you, and then all you need is a simple drawn butter and your loved ones close by.