A DIY raw bar is guaranteed to impress your guests this holiday season. All the fresh seafood you could ever want is available via Citarella’s overnight nationwide shipping, but take careful notes from the company’s owner Joe Gurrera on how to make your seafood extravaganza truly shine.
See below for Joe's suggestions on how to make your raw bar just as decadent and delicious as this one.
The Set Up
You’ll want to set all your pristine seafood on a few inches of shaved iced. If you use cubes of ice, your seafood will eventually fall into the puddles of water as the ice melts. The presentation looks better with shaved ice, too. Joe will put ice into a blender to get the perfect consistency.
“Make it look dramatic,” says Joe, who even sticks lobster claws into the display.
Another tip: don’t set up your raw bar too early because the ice melts and you want to serve the seafood as fresh as possible. Get everything ready to go—but set the bar up right before you start serving.
How to Pick Your Seafood
Joe’s raw bar typically consists of oysters and clams on the half shell, steamed shrimp, lobsters, and crabs. If you’re unsure about what to serve, talk to a manager or fish monger at Citarella.
As for how much to buy, Joe estimates three to four clams and oysters per person, the same amount of shrimp, a crab claw or two per guest, and half a lobster for each person. And while Joe doesn’t like to adorn his seafood with condiments, he’s always sure to set out lemons, cocktail sauce, and mignonette for oysters.
When it comes to oysters and clams, if you want to save time (and avoid the risk of cutting yourself), Citarella will shuck your shellfish in advance and then you can set them on their shells right before serving.
What to Drink
Champagne is always popular during the holidays and you can’t go wrong pairing it with your seafood spread. Joe will often pair the menu with a crisp white wine, such as a sauvignon blanc. But he says even a light pinot noir is a great option for red wine. Craft beers are also good to have on hand.
“Keep the raw bar simple and focus on the quality,” says Joe. “At the end of the day, if you have good food and company, everyone will be happy.”
Exclusive offer: Readers will receive $25 off their order ($75 minimum) through January 15, 2016, using code NM25. Head to citarella.com to redeem.