Menu idea for both meat and fish eaters

I’d be grateful for menu thoughts. Hosting Christmas Eve dinner for 12-14. About two-thirds of guests are meat eaters and one-third pescetarian (fish only).

I am settled on one of these two tenderloins:

I was thinking a risotto like this Shrimp with Asparagus and Peas would work as the main for the fish-only folks and also as the starch side for the meat eaters. (Extra shrimp provided for the fish-only folks.) With a simply-prepared colorful veg like roasted carrots, beets, or root vegetables, etc. And of course there will be hors d’oeuvres, salad, desserts.

I’ve made the risotto before and I think it would be fine on the plate with the tenderloin and red wine sauce – it’s not too lemony and I could even skip the preserved lemons in the risotto.

I just don’t know what else to do for the fish-only eaters without getting too crazy. Coquilles St. Jacques is a beautiful Christmas classic but I think too rich as a side for the tenderloin.

Any other ideas? I don’t want the fish eaters to feel like they’re riding second-class.

  • Posted by: Pegeen
  • December 10, 2013


ChefJune December 12, 2013
My computer at work doesn't let me agree, but I totally agree with lloreen. You aren't running a restaurant, and you don't need another fish/seafood entree. The meat eaters can have risotto as a side, but I would do another starchy side (maybe couscous - it's so easy). I'm also going to suggest that many of the meat eaters may go with the risotto. I love to do shrimp and/or scallop risotto! and all my diners love to eat it as well.
ATG117 December 11, 2013
I'd probably opt for a separate fish course and then make a universal side that's more seasonal. But I'm a veg who eats fish and I'm always happy just eating sides, too. I often even prefer it. One suggestion would be a polenta that you can serve unadulterated for the meat eaters and with either an eggplant or mushroom topping for the pescaS. Recipes on this site.
pierino December 11, 2013
I'm thinking that the monkfish suggestion is a really good idea. Shrimp is not my favorite crustacean to put in risotto. But monkfish pan seared (the poor man's lobster) and cut up would actually work well.
Pegeen December 11, 2013
Thanks, Lloreen. It's still the best thing I can think of to provide a starch and fish without having to do an extra dish. All ideas welcome, though!
lloreen December 11, 2013
As a former pescatarian, now omnivore, I can say I would have been thrilled with the prawn risotto. In fact, even though I eat meat, that sounds like the star of the feast. You don't need to add another fish dish to make this a feast. With some salads and veggies and dessert, this is a great menu.
Pegeen December 10, 2013
Meg, thanks. The pairing of tenderloin and risotto/shrimp seemed OK to me but I can't really tell because I'm insane from gift shopping. :-)
Pegeen December 10, 2013
Kelly, good tip about the monkfish body. (Who wants a hideous fish face on the table at Christmas? There's enough drama going on.) Anyway, I will talk to my fish guy tomorrow. I was hoping to avoid cooking a fish but maybe it's the best way to go... Thank you!
cookbookchick December 12, 2013
KellyinToronto December 10, 2013
Pegeen- I think with Monkfish you only get the tail, which is shaped almost exactly like a tenderloin. (As I recall, the head of the fish is REAL ugly.) I have to admit, I've actually used both of the recipes you're using on Monkfish tails, with adjusted cooking times, of course :) It's a sturdy, hearty fish that I find is REALLY delicious when you out a mustard crust on it. I figure bu doing this, you can literally treat the fish like meat and save you a little headache!
luvcookbooks December 10, 2013
I like the risotto idea. Go for it!
Pegeen December 10, 2013
Kelly, do you mean, like a whole fish? That would be gorgeous but then I'm stuck making an additional dish, a starch, for everyone. Yes, I'm whining. ;-) Anyway, I love the idea and wonder if you know of a particular recipe?
KellyinToronto December 10, 2013
How about a pan-roasted Monkfish? it's a hearty fish that can stand up to you using similar seasons and techniques as the tenderloin, not to mention the presentation would be similar. It's also something that you don't see everyday, and so very delicious.
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