So did I mention there was entertainment?? My aunt, whom I haven't seen since I was 8, AND who is also a professional opera singer, graciously agreed last minute to perform an Italian aria in honor of the Cioppino we were about to consume. I was absolutely floored by how beautiful and strong her voice was. I know most of us had goosebumps after her performance. I think my friend Lina said it best when she said, "I could never understand why people got all emotional about opera, but I think I do now!" It was just impossible to not be moved.
Now back to the food. As I mentioned, we had a fantastic little Cioppino, which included clams, shrimp, scallops, and cod. It was absolutely fantastic, and was the perfect combination of being hearty yet still light and fresh-tasting.
And here's a picture I like of Kathy's lightning-quick hands chopping up the parsley for garnish.
The main event of the evening was skate. Skate is something that I've had before, but most of the class had never experienced. I've never prepared it, so I was definitely grateful for the opportunity to learn the finer points of its preparation. It came out extremely tender and flavorful, and I would highly recommend trying it if you can get your hands on it. We simply seasoned ours with salt and pepper, lightly dredged it with flour, then sauteed it in olive oil, lemon juice, and threw in some capers. It was absolutely fantastic.
The meal was finished with a chocolate fondue. There were some lovely fresh strawberries and poundcake available for dipping into the chocolate fountain.
All in all, it was a highly successful and entertaining event. Good food, good fun, and great friends and family - is there anything better??