When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was often a tense evening in our family, and after some nominal gift-giving, I’d flee to my friend Nick’s house for his mother’s wonderful seafood-based menu. Shrimp, lobster, fish, pasta, lots of laughs, I loved it and looked forward to it every year. This past Christmas Eve, Jay and I had another terrific dinner, thanks to my friend Toni and her husband Paul. Toni gave me a piece of striped bass (that Paul had caught months earlier off Cape Cod and had quickly frozen in sea water), her grandmother’s recipe to prepare it, as well as her own tweaks to the dish. Grandma: Combine sliced garlic, parsley, olive oil and a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes in a saucepan. Simmer for 45 minutes or more, then insert the defrosted fish filet and simmer for some ten minutes or more. Serve over linguine; sprinkle with chopped parsley. Toni’s tweaks: Color the garlic in the oil first. Add a tablespoon of Vietnamese fish sauce to the simmering tomatoes. We followed Toni’s suggestions. Magnificent.