A Feast Fit for a Queen
Holly Haines makes the seven fishes look easy
Inspired by Mark’s Thanksgiving "Feast of the '7-10+' Fishes," I decided to create a seven-seafood brunch spread for my friends. The idea of cooking seven seafood dishes felt overwhelming, and I didn’t have all day to spend in the kitchen, so I turned to Mark’s latest book, How to Cook Everything Fast, for ideas.
There are plenty of seafood options in Fast. For my seven, I settled on:
Open-Face Sardine Sandwiches,
Smoky Shrimp Scampi,
Seared Scallops with Broiled Romaine,
Mussels with Miso Mayonnaise,
Reverse Risotto with Anchovies and Chiles, and
Linguine with Clams.
It took two of us about 2 ½ hours to “casually” cook through seven dishes, with my good friend Mikee doing all the chopping and me doing all the cooking. Dishes like the sardine sandwiches came together in about 10 minutes, while the risotto took about 30 minutes — and this was definitely the quickest I’ve ever put seven dishes together. Mikee documented the day on his YouTube channel — just in case you’d like to watch us cook and hang out in the kitchen drinking mimosas.
The crab toast was the overall favorite; the steamed mussels with miso mayonnaise was a sleeper hit. I used some of the last bit of my homemade miso paste, and that made the dish sentimental for me — probably why I enjoyed it the most. At one point, we dipped the crab toast in the sauce from the mussels, and that was a revelation.
Speaking of revelations, the method for the reverse risotto – cooking the rice with most of the liquid and adding the seasonings at the end – has leveled up my life. I’ll never do it another way again.
Recipes are below. If you tackle the feast, we’d love to hear how it goes!
Sassy Sardine Open-Faced Sandwich
Makes: 4 servings
My favorite spin on a sandwich using tinned fish usually veers toward piquant, tangy flavors to offset the richness of the fish. Get skin-on sardine fillets, ideally packed in oil; the quality is generally better. And don’t shy away from the pickles and brine here; they’re crucial.