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Christmas feasts the chefs' way

Alex Raij and Eder Montero with their baby

Alex Raij and Eder Montero with their baby Credit: Ryan Thatcher

For food lovers, the best part of the Christmas celebration is indulging in rare holiday treats like stuffing and ham, but what do those who are always around good food indulge in? amNew York rounded up four culinary pros and asks them to divulge about their favorite Christmas chow and memories.

Who: Daisy Martinez, author of Daisy’s Holiday Cooking and host of the Food Network’s Viva Daisy!
It’s not Christmas without: the aroma of pernil (Puerto Rican Roast Pork) coming from the kitchen and Coquito (an eggnog-style concoction) to drink.
Originally from: “My Tia Gabriela has a tradition that she slaughters a whole pig and hosts a wonderful pig roast on Christmas Eve,” recalled Ms. Martinez. “One year, my mom purchased a whole pig and we roasted it outside my parents’ house. The Fire Department showed up but it turned out they all knew my dad, who was in the department for 31 years, so my mom ended up feeding them all!”
How she does it: I don’t do a whole pig. I prefer the shoulder or the leg, because it is all meat and serves more people. Other than that, my recipe is exactly like the one my mom makes. (It’s made with a wet adobo rub of garlic, kosher/sea salt, black pepper, dried oregano, olive oil and white wine vinegar)

Who: Eric Ripert, executive chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin and author of Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert
It’s not Christmas without: a roasted capon stuffed with truffles and foie gras.
Originally from: “I grew up cooking with my mother and my grandmothers,” Mr. Ripert told us. “The whole family would be together [on Christmas eve]. One of my grandmothers was Italian and the other from Provence, so there was always this mix of different styles of cooking, but everyone was happy with the capon as the star of the dinner.”
How he does it: Mr. Ripert makes a simpler version of the recipe by using chicken instead of capon. He serves it with a romaine salad and garlic vinaigrette, which is also inspired by the simple salad his grandmother used to make straight from the gardens.

Who: Wolfgang Ban and Eduard Frauneder, executive chefs of Seasonal Restaurant & Weinbar
It’s not Christmas without: Roasted goose on Christmas Eve.
Originally from: Their mothers and Grandmothers. Mr. Frauneder loves carving the goose and eating the skin and using the goose fat the next day as a spread on toasted rye bread.
How they do it: The guys keep to the original recipe but change the pairing. Mr. Ban likes his goose with apple, pear and quince and Mr. Frauneder prefers it with chestnut, apple, orange and marjoram,

Who: Alex Raij and Eder Montero, executive chefs and owners of Txikito
It’s not Christmas without: A feast that starts with a mixture of raw and cooked seafood followed by a whole bream topped with crispy golden garlic vinaigrette or clams with parsley sauce.
Who made it first: Eder’s grandmother Eulalia. Ms. Raij remembers accompanying her to the fish market in Bilbao, “Once we chose our fish the woman behind the counter made fast work of scaling and butterflying it with a huge fish knife. When you fish in the Basque country they give you the parsley with it. It's indispensable for them and so charming.”
How they do it: The pair keeps their recipe very traditional and very local by substituting the Bream for Porgies from the Union Square Green Market.




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