Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Jesuit Christmas Meal

Jesuit Communities here in the Philippines do not have festive meals during Christmas Eve. It is because the Jesuit Scholastics, brothers and fathers are all busy in celebrating Christmas Eve Mass in their respective apostolate areas. After celebrating the mass, the Jesuits simply go back to their community, partake of simple snacks of wine, fruits and cheese and enjoy some good chats. Scholastics and brothers who live within the metropolis are allowed to go home to celebrate the Christmas eve with their families.

Traditionally, Jesuits come together as a community for a more elaborate and good meal on the evening of Christmas day. Here, the Minister of each Jesuit house once again takes charge and make sure that the community gets a real Christmas feast.

Here’s a sample menu for a Jesuit Christmas two-course meal:

Air Dried Ham wrapped in Melon,
Smoked Salmon , Smoked Turkey
Foi Gras Paté, Gorgonzola Cheese
Green Salad with Balsamic Dressing
Onion Soup
Lemoned Sea Bass Fillet with Capers
on buttered vegetables
Kalamansi (Philippine Lemon) Sherbet
Grilled Lamb Chops with Herbs
with Portabella and Sundried Tomato Risotto

NY Style Cheese Cake
Topped with Fresh Fruits and Pecan Nuts
Here's the recipe for the Sea Bass Fillet:
Lemoned Sea Bass Fillet with Capers
1 kl sea bass, grouper or cod fillet 8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced 2 medium sized lemon
½ cup capers, rinsed
4 tablespoon olive oil salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoon poppy seeds
½ cup dry white wine

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
2. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel. Drizzle with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle poppy seeds on the white area. Combine garlic and capers in a bowl and mix well.
3. Over high heat, heat 3 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet until it is very hot. Place the fillet, skin side down, in the pan and cook about 1 minute, until it browns. Turn the fillet and cook a minute or two on the other side.
4. Off the heat, spoon the garlic/caper mixture on top (the skinless side). Slices of lemon may be added. Pour the wine over the fish. Cook in the oven until the thickest part of the fillet looks opaque, about 10 minutes.
5. Serving Suggestion: Put layers of buttered legumes and carrots on the plate. Arrange sea bass fillet on top, showing the white meat side. Spoon in garlic and capers on top. Garnish with a slice of fresh lemon. Pour in white wine sauce over the fish.


Passionate Eater said...

From your sample menu, it seems that the Jesuit community knows to celebrate Christmas with elegance. (Those are some fancy gourmet dishes!)

Can I use tilapia in this recipe instead of sea bass? The recipe sounds mouthwatering--and healthy too!

I'd love to hear what you and your family make for Christmas dinner! Seems like you inherited great cooking genes from your parents.

Thank you for your wonderful post! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jhaw said...

Hi PE! Thanks for that nice comment. Tilapia might be a good alternative for sea bass. There are I think two varieties of tilapia. You should chose the black (they are also the bigger one) variety. They have more meat for filleting than the white variety. Also, you have to lessen the cooking time, because tilapia meat tends to become too soft. I'm excited to hear your feedback when you're done trying the recipe in your home.

Ng Wai Mun, Paul said...

Hi there!

Let me introduce myself, I'm Paul, the owner of, I started this weblog recently to showcase a recipe a day everyday. I was wondering would you be interested to be a recipe contributor?

Regards. Paul.