Offers in this blog post are expired

Holiday Cooking and Wine Tips from Catch 35

Catch 35’s Wine Boss, Carl Jensen and Chef Eddie Sweeney are here to help alleviate your holiday stress with cooking and wine tips!

Wine Tips from Wine Boss, Carl Jensen:

  1. If you are attending a holiday party, bring a bottle of red and a bottle of white, just in case the host prefers one to the other.
  2. The holidays are filled with extra costs so a great way to save money is to buy wine by the case, even local super markets will cut you a deal if you buy 6 or more bottles.
  3. To end your holiday meals, try a port or a sherry, they pair well with nutty and sweet desserts and are great nightcap during the cold months.
  4. The holidays, especially, New Year’s Eve call for some bubbly. Choose a quality sparkling wine from California. A good sparkling wine will cost a bit more but is great way to ring in the New Year!
  5. Go with this as your rule of thumb when pairing wine and food for a holiday party: The deeper the red wine color and flavor the richer the dish while white wines pair best with lighter dishes and vegetables and are a great start to a meal.

Holiday Cooking tips and techniques from Catch 35’s Chef Eddie Sweeney.

  1. What temperature should I cook my steak too?
Steak Doneness Remove from Grill at this Temperature
Rare 115°F
Medium Rare 125°F
Medium 135°F
Medium Well 145°F
Well Done 160°F


  1. Any suggestions on improving my shrimp cocktail?

-Choose raw shrimp and try to clean and devein yourself.

Check for Freshness

Fresh shrimp should smell clean, refrain from shrimp that smells of ammonia.

Preparing raw shrimp:

Trick for deveining shrimp:

Place a paper towel underneath the area you are prepping the shrimp and simply wipe the vein off the tip of your knife on the towel. This will save you some time, especially if you preparing for big crowd!

Cooking technique: Poach in simmering seasoned water (a couple of tablespoons of Old Bay) only until the shrimp turn pink. When they are shaped like a “C” they are “cooked”. Don’t let them get shaped like an “O”, this is “overcooked. Over cooking will cause its texture to become rubbery.

  1. I love oysters on Christmas Eve, any recipes you can share?

-Tis the Season to celebrate and for some reason Oysters seem to hit that seafood sweet spot during the holiday season!

Holiday Tip: Oysters should always be closed and smell of the fresh ocean never fishy. DO NOT EAT if they are opened before cooking, it may not be a very Merry Christmas if you do!

Trick for cooking oysters: Simply steam until the shells open. This makes it easier to crack open and then stuff with your favorite toppings.

Cooking Technique: Once the oysters are stuffed, put them in then oven and broil until toppings are browned & crisp (2-3 minutes should do)

Oyster Topping Recipe courtesy of Catch 35:

Makes 12

~1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (day old bread works great)

~3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

~1 tablespoon of fresh Italian herbs (parsley, rosemary, anise)

~1-2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

~Lemon sliced into wedges

Melt butter and mix with breadcrumbs, herbs, and garlic. Place on opened oysters w/ their juices and broil for 2-3 minutes until browned. Serve with lemon wedges for a hit of acid. Enjoy!

  1. I am looking for a healthier version of stuffed mussels this year. Do you have any suggestions?

-It’s been a family tradition to devour large amounts of mussels during the holiday season. Usually, we stuff them with a salty crunchy breadcrumb stuffing and bake them for some time (because someone usually forgets they are in the oven) until their garlicky smell fills up the kitchen.

Holiday Tip: Don’t stuff your mussels this year! Try cooking them in a flavorful broth instead. (Trust me! It’s easier and tastier and will become a new family tradition)

Trick for cooking mussels:  Rinse and scrub well under cold water. These little guys sit in sand! Discard any open or broken shells.

Cooking technique:  Determine what kind of broth you want. So many to choose from such as a red marinara, spicy salsa, white wine & garlic, lemongrass & jalapeno….I can just keep going. Choose your favorite flavors and come up with your own sauce. Add the mussels to your broth and toss to combine. Cover and steam for about 5 minutes until the mussels open. Enjoy!


Broth Recipe:

White wine and garlic sauce; Serves up to 4 lbs of mussels

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 minced shallot

2 minced garlic cloves

3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme

½ cup of dry white wine

1 lemon, juiced

1 cup of chicken broth

Heat up all ingredients in a stockpot. Once combined and fragrant then add mussels.

Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and a pinch of parsley and steam for 1 more minute. Serve with garlic bread and Devour!

  1. I am in charge of bringing dessert, any recipes or suggestions?

Yes, call today to place your Holiday Pie Order at Catch 35 Chicago/Naperville

Naperville | 630-717-3500 | 35 S. Washington St.

Chicago | 312-346-3500 | 35 W. Wacker Dr.

Pie pickup dates:

Friday, Dec. 22nd

Saturday, Dec. 23rd

Sunday, Dec. 24th

Choose from Key Lime $25, Blueberry Cheesecake $25, Bourbon Pecan Pie $30, Sticky Toffee Pudding $25