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Liven Up Holiday Entertaining With a Southern-Style Buffet

For the winter holidays, warm up your home with a Southern-style buffet for relaxed, informal entertaining. Consider having two buffets, one for appetizers and one for the main meal. Greet guests with a colorful, refreshing glass of champagne with a splash of pomegranate juice and pomegranate seeds. Create your dinner buffet with casseroles and Southern side dishes that can be made a day or two ahead and heated just before serving. Rather than large casseroles, bake two smaller portions of the same dish to make it easy for guests to serve themselves with no waiting. For a sweet ending, nothing says Southern like pecan pie with vanilla ice cream or a beautiful bowl of ambrosia with seasonal fruits.

Liven up the table by elevating some of the platters and decorating with fresh holly, candles or silver ornaments. To brighten your holiday buffet, serve this recipe from Wild American Shrimp Inc. Packed with flavor, shrimp provides a high-protein, low-carb choice. Although much of the shrimp Americans eat is farm-raised in other countries, many seafood lovers enjoy the rich, sweet flavor of Wild American shrimp, which is seasonally harvested from the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. WILD AMERICAN SHRIMP AND SCALLOPS WITH ORANGE JUICE (Makes 4 servings) 16 large scallops 8 extra-large Wild American shrimp 1/4 cup olive oil 1 cup sliced leeks 1 cup sliced fennel bulb 1/2 cup white wine 2 cups fresh orange juice reduced to 1/2 cup (reduce by boiling over high heat) 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar Pinch sugar 6 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped Season scallops and shrimp with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook shrimp and scallops until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside and keep warm. Add leeks and fennel to the pan and saute for 2 minutes, careful not to burn. Add wine, orange juice reduction, vinegar and sugar, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Swirl in butter and fresh tarragon. Add sauce to shrimp and scallops and toss well to coat. - NU.


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