My true love gave to me Seven Swans-a-Swimming. Seven is the number of completeness and perfection. The number seven is found in the Bible 735 times, it is the foundation of God’s word.
The Seven Swans are symbolic of the seven gifts or talents we all possess. These gifts are Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Encouragement, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy. Within each of us these abilities abound although we aren’t always aware of them.
Prophecy isn’t all that mysterious or complicated. We’ve all “seen the writing on the wall” at one time or another. That sense of knowing what is just around the corner, that gut instinct. What we choose to do with this insight is up to us.
Caring for others are acts of servitude. Just as leading by example is a form of teaching. To lift others up with words of encouragement is as essential to their well-being as breathing. Giving of our time is the most valuable of contributions. When we take a stand for our convictions, even if we stand alone, is to show leadership. When we are kind to those who have wronged us is to show mercy. These are strengths from above. Gifts from the Holy Spirit that make us better people.
Since the 7th Day of Christmas is also New Year’s Eve, it’s only fitting to offer up an elegant supper fitting of the occasion while remaining true to Friday traditions. This Dover Sole Piccata, Seared Asparagus and Cucumber Salad are a beautiful way to say Happy New Year – Enjoy!
Dover Sole Piccata
2 Lemon for garnish
4 Cherry Tomatoes for garnish
4 Garlic Cloves
3 Green Onions
2 tablespoons Flour
Sea Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
1 lb Dover Sole Fillets
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup White Wine
1/4 cup Lemon Juice, fresh
7 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Capers
Note: Any light, white fish fillet with skins removed will work in this recipe.
Prepare Blossoms for the garnish. Slice lemons in half, then cut V-slits to create a blossom. Cut thin slice from the bottom of the tomato so that it will sit flat. Cut V-slits to create tomato blossoms, taking care not to cut all the way through. Gently open the blossom, then push out a bit of the seeds. Cover blossoms and set aside until ready to serve.
Peel and chop garlic, set aside. Finely mince white parts of the onion, set aside until ready to use.
In a glass pie pan, mix flour, a dash of salt and white pepper to dredge sole. Set aside.
Place a heavy skillet large enough for sole over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat until almost smoking. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Blot sole dry with paper towels, dredge in seasoned flour, shaking off any excess flour.
Fry sole in hot oil until golden brown. Do not rush sole, give it time to brown nicely. Flip and fry other side to a golden brown. Remove sole from skillet, plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Deglaze the skillet with white wine, scrapping up any brown pieces of sole remaining in pan. Add garlic, white parts of the onion and lemon juice. Sauté until liquid is reduced by half. Slowly whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time until melted and creamy-smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add capers and heat 1-2 minutes.
Spoon sauce over sole. Garnish the plates with blossoms.
Smoky Pan Seared Asparagus
1 lb Green Asparagus
1 tablespoon Basil 0live Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 Lemon, juices freshly squeezed
Kosher Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
Rinse the asparagus and trim off the ends, leaving spears about 8 inches long.
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and butter to sizzling. Turn down the heat to medium and add the asparagus.
Using a broad spatula, turn the spears over from time to time until they are browned more or less evenly, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. The spears will remain mainly green, with patches of crispy brown. Check for doneness by tasting a spear. It should be tender but slightly al dente.
Sprinkle the asparagus with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving platter or individual plates.
Cucumber Tomato and Red Onion Salad
5 medium Tomatoes
1 large Cucumber
1/2 Red Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 cup White Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
Slice tomatoes and set aside. Peel and slice cucumbers, set aside. On a rimmed serving platter, arrange tomato and cucumber slices, alternating. Peel and thinly slice the red onion into rings. Break apart, scatter rings over the cucumbers and tomatoes. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Finely mince garlic. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and mustard until well incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
About 15 minutes before serving, whisk dressing. Pour over salad. Let sit, soaking in the flavors for a few minutes, then serve.