A few years in the past our household adopted the custom of the Feast of Seven Fishes for our Christmas Eve vacation feast. It’s actually modified through the years, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a enjoyable household custom we love doing. In case you’re questioning what meals to make for Christmas Eve dinner, give this a attempt!
And sure … there actually are seven sorts of seafood!
A Option to Preserve Custom Alive
I need to move on the most effective of our household tradition, traditions, and heritage. For the Italian facet, this typically means passing on the meals and recipes.
Making an attempt to have a wholesome way of life isn’t about throwing traditions centered round meals out of the window. Removed from it! As an alternative, I’ve modified meatball recipes, pasta recipes, and even Christmas cookie recipes to suit our allergy symptoms and dietary wants.
One Italian-American custom specifically was straightforward and enjoyable to proceed with our household. It’s known as “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” within the US however merely “La Vigilia,” (the vigil) in southern Italy. Because the title suggests, this custom actually includes making seven (or extra) forms of fish on Christmas Eve.
Feast of the Seven Fishes: It’s What’s for Christmas Eve Dinner!
There’s a lot debate as to the historic origin of this custom, although we proceed it merely due to its connection to household. Consuming fish on Christmas Eve traces again to the Roman Catholic custom of abstaining from meat on Fridays and particular Holy Days. Abstaining from meat on Christmas Eve would have signified ready in anticipation of the Christ Little one’s arrival on Christmas morning.
Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there have been a whole lot of southern Italian immigrants to America (particularly New York). They introduced with them the custom of serving fish dishes on Christmas Eve. Many Italian-American households nonetheless proceed this vacation season custom.
The quantity seven can be up for debate, as many households serve fewer forms of fish (and a few function many as 13!). Seven is probably going the most typical quantity due to its sturdy historic and cultural significance in lots of components of Europe, together with Italy. In biblical historical past, the quantity seven represents completeness and perfection. There are additionally seven sacraments and 7 lethal sins in Catholic teachings.
Does it Need to Be Fish?
Some individuals actually do follow seven forms of fish at their seafood feast. Others (like myself) simply goal for seven completely different sorts of seafood.
NOTE: You don’t must make the entire dishes directly to do this custom! I actually didn’t begin making all seven initially. Decide only one or two and also you’ve acquired a festive, significant, and scrumptious Christmas Eve meal.
Our Household’s Model of “La Vigilia“
It’s taken me nearly a decade to lastly get into a superb routine for this particular Christmas Eve meal. As you may think about, there could be a whole lot of prep work and cooking concerned! I added a dish annually till I acquired to the complete seven.
Now to make it even simpler I make a seafood stew that has most (or all) of the seven fishes in it. There are a whole lot of completely different choices, however listed here are our favourite dishes and ones I’ve typically made for Christmas Eve dinner.
Appetizer Seafood Dishes
Cooking so many dishes can simply get overwhelming and contain an excessive amount of meals. Small appetizers are a great way to honor this Italian-American Christmas Eve custom with out going overboard. Any of those may very well be served as an appetizer or as a part of the primary meal.
Crab and Clam Arancini
Arancini is a standard Italian meals, however I’ve added two forms of seafood to make it match with this meal. The title means “little orange” they usually’re small fried balls of rice that resemble an orange as soon as cooked. They’re historically stuffed with mozzarella cheese and meat, however I exploit seafood, herbs, and peppers for a flavorful different.
Mussels in Wine Sauce
A dish that appears actually fancy however couldn’t be less complicated to make. Since this meal has so many programs, we solely make 2-3 of those per individual. The youngsters suppose they’re enjoyable and revel in serving to make them. I exploit this recipe and blend up the herbs and spices a bit annually.
Scallops in Browned Butter
I really like scallops they usually’re an ideal a part of a vacation meal. Our favourite approach to make them is with a bit browned butter, olive oil, and recent herbs. Since there are such a lot of different dishes at this meal, we solely make one per individual. My recipe is similar to this one (I simply pass over the capers).
This straightforward appetizer couldn’t be simpler to arrange. Boiled after which cooled shrimp are dipped in a zesty, tomato-based sauce. In case you don’t have a wholesome premade cocktail sauce accessible, then do this selfmade one. Primal Kitchen has an unsweetened ketchup that may work effectively on this recipe.
Skillet Bang Bang Shrimp with Sriracha Dipping Sauce
All of the flavors of the well-known bang-bang shrimp with out the deep frying! I saute shrimp in butter till cooked and serve with a candy chili and sriracha sauce.
Canned sardines are one other straightforward (and wholesome) appetizer to whip up for this meal. You’ll be able to mash them within the can and serve them on high of crackers with a slice of cheese. Canned fish actually cuts down on the prep time for this dinner. Listed here are a number of different concepts for the best way to eat sardines.
Pasta dishes typically accompany this seafood unfold, nevertheless it’s not one thing we sometimes do.
If you wish to prepare dinner some pasta to your meal, listed here are some choices. Typically we’ll use gluten-free rice noodles for pasta, or I’ll typically make veggie noodles. Add some selfmade marinara sauce and also you’re in enterprise! In case you’re feeling spicy, attempt some fra diavolo sauce as a substitute.
Baccalà- Salted Cod in Butter & Wine Discount
Baccalà is a standard fundamental course for the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Historically, that is made with true Baccalà cod that’s been preserved in salt and dried. Earlier than I moved to the south this was onerous to seek out so I acquired inventive.
I’ve made my very own model utilizing recent cod and salt in a butter and wine sauce. Right here’s a basic Baccalà recipe if you wish to make your personal.
Soups, Salads, and Sides
Because the meal is extra complicated we hold the perimeters tremendous easy on this evening. I’ll typically simply make a recent salad and roast some broccoli. You can even make a seafood salad with this tasty Caesar salad. The dressing is made with salty anchovies and I prefer to high it with some sardines.
A household favourite recreated from a soup we had in a restaurant. This straightforward shrimp bisque is very easy to make and has superb taste. Making this one at Christmas at all times jogs my memory how good it’s and to place it again within the household meal rotation.
Through the years our Christmas Eve dinner routine has modified rather a lot. Whereas I nonetheless make a few of these recipes for the meal, I’ve simplified the method due to this soup. Historically referred to as cioppino, seafood stew options hearty fish fillets like halibut and shellfish. It’s a straightforward approach to pack most (or all) of the 7 forms of seafood into one fundamental dish.
You may as well make one thing like this hearty seafood chowder. I’d use arrowroot powder as a substitute of the all-purpose flour although.
Feast of the Seven Fishes Serving Suggestions
In case you’re not counting on a seafood heavy soup, there could be fairly a number of meals to arrange directly. Thankfully, it’s straightforward sufficient to do most of it forward of time. I sometimes put together the whole lot besides the scallops beforehand. I gently reheat the dishes, sauté the scallops, toss the salad, and we’re able to go!
One other approach to make the meal extra festive is to have some particular wines readily available. Since I found Dry Farm Wines, I additionally be sure that I’ve a few of their white wine to serve for an ideal pairing. The youngsters get some glowing fruit-infused water in fancy glasses!
For dessert I’ll often simply serve some recent fruit with a bit whipped cream on high. If you wish to go all out on dessert although, listed here are some tasty dessert recipes to attempt.
Do you’ve gotten any particular traditions for Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner?