Are you spending the holidays on the Gulf Coast of Florida and wondering what to make for Christmas dinner? We can help you with that. With a little advice from one of south Florida’s hottest chefs, Kris Wessel, we have a Florida-style Christmas dinner menu lined up that’s sure to please. It can be served as a formal sit-down meal or as a buffet, making it perfect for whichever you had in mind this holiday.
Stone Crab Appetizer
In Florida this time of year it’s stone crab season, so why not start off in grand Gulf Coast style with a simple yet delicious starter of stone crab claws with mustard sauce. The stone crabs are already steamed and ready to eat when you buy them locally, so all you really need to do is whip up the mustard sauce. Serve the sauce in small bowls or ramekins alongside the gorgeous stone crab claws and you have a stunning holiday appetizer.
Florida Ambrosia Salad
Nothing says Florida like this light and bright ambrosia salad. It’s not your supermarket ambrosia-style salad which is heavily laden in sugar. This one combines Florida’s peak-season grapefruits and oranges along with other tropical flavors including coconut, kumquat and pomegranate. Beautiful to behold and deliciously refreshing.
(Photo Credit: Epicurious, Lara Ferroni)
Roasted Whole Snapper Entrée
The showstopping centerpiece of your Florida-style Christmas dinner is a whole roasted red snapper filet (or several). Stuffed with aromatics of garlic and onion along with tomatoes and celery, the dish is then finished with lime juice and topped with a white wine pan sauce. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser! Check out the grilling option in the cook’s notes for a tasty alternative to roasting.
Yellow Rice Pilaf & Green Bean Amandine Side Dishes
Light side dishes are a nice a complement to your Florida Christmas dinner. Who wants to be bogged down with too much food when you’ll probably be walking the beach at some point during your day? Try out these quick and easy side dishes to make your meal complete. The green bean Amandine recipe is a new twist on an old favorite with a bit of cheese for added depth of flavor. The yellow rice pilaf recipe is colorful and flavorful, adding just enough spice to awaken your palate and make it happy, happy happy.
Pineapple Rum Cake Dessert
The tropical flair of this pineapple rum cake adds a signature flavor to your Christmas dinner reminding everyone that this is a holiday meal that’s out of the ordinary. There’s dark rum in both the pineapple glaze and in the cake, so it’s sure to be delicious. We highly recommend that you pair it with some vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Are you looking for more of a Florida-style dessert? Try the key lime pie recipe!
Rum Punch, Anyone?
A holiday dinner would not be a holiday dinner without cocktails. Trade in the traditional eggnog for a tropical favorite: rum punch. Combine some Florida fresh squeezed orange juice with pineapple juice, guava nectar, lime juice, bitters and top with some freshly grated nutmeg for a sunny adult beverage your guests will love.
Check out the rum punch recipe and put it on the holiday menu this year.
If you’re looking for more Florida-inspired holiday meal ideas, read A Palm Tree Christmas featured in Epicurious for more suggestions and recipes from Chef Kris Wessel.
We hope you’re inspired to have a Christmas dinner in true Florida style this year. If not this year, then save it for next year! It’s never too early to start planning your Gulf Coast holiday getaway.
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas from our Plumlee Gulf Beach Realty family to yours. Cheers!