Sicilian Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve
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 over time, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a fun family tradition we love doing. Should you’re questioning what meals to make for Christmas Eve dinner, give this a strive!
And sure … there actually are seven sorts of seafood!
A Solution to Preserve Custom Alive
I need to move on the very best of our household tradition, traditions, and heritage. For the Italian aspect, 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 a substitute, I’ve modified meatball recipes, pasta recipes, and even Christmas cookie recipes to suit our allergic reactions and dietary wants.
One Italian-American custom particularly was simple 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 identify suggests, this custom actually includes making seven (or extra) sorts 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 Youngster’s arrival on Christmas morning.
Through the 19th and 20th centuries, there have been numerous 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 also be up for debate, as many households serve fewer sorts of fish (and a few function many as 13!). Seven is probably going the most typical quantity due to its robust historic and cultural significance in lots of elements 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 Must Be Fish?
Some individuals actually do keep on with seven sorts of fish at their seafood feast. Others (like myself) simply purpose for seven totally different sorts of seafood.
NOTE: You don’t must make the entire dishes without delay to do that custom! I actually didn’t begin making all seven at first. Choose only one or two and also you’ve bought 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 routine for this particular Christmas Eve meal. As you may think about, there may be numerous prep work and cooking concerned! I added a dish annually till I bought to the total 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 numerous totally 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 principle meal.
Crab and Clam Arancini
Arancini is a traditional Italian food, however I’ve added two sorts of seafood to make it match with this meal. The identify means “little orange” they usually’re small fried balls of rice that resemble an orange as soon as cooked. They’re historically crammed with mozzarella cheese and meat, however I take advantage of seafood, herbs, and peppers for a flavorful different.
Mussels in Wine Sauce
A dish that appears actually fancy however couldn’t be easier to make. Since this meal has so many programs, we solely make 2-Three of those per particular person. The youngsters assume they’re enjoyable and revel in serving to make them. I take advantage of 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 contemporary herbs. Since there are such a lot of different dishes at this meal, we solely make one per particular person. My recipe could be very related to this one (I simply miss the capers).
This easy appetizer couldn’t be simpler to organize. Boiled after which cooled shrimp are dipped in a zesty, tomato-based sauce. Should you don’t have a wholesome premade cocktail sauce accessible, then strive this homemade one. Primal Kitchen has an unsweetened ketchup that might work nicely 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 sweet chili and sriracha sauce.
Canned sardines are one other simple (and wholesome) appetizer to whip up for this meal. You may 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 below are a number of different concepts for methods to eat sardines.
Pasta dishes typically accompany this seafood unfold, nevertheless it’s not one thing we usually do.
If you wish to prepare dinner some pasta on your meal, listed here are some choices. Generally 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! Should you’re feeling spicy, strive some fra diavolo sauce as a substitute.
Baccalà- Salted Cod in Butter & Wine Discount
Baccalà is a standard primary 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 laborious to seek out so I bought inventive.
I’ve made my very own model utilizing contemporary cod and salt in a butter and wine sauce. Right here’s a classic Baccalà recipe if you wish to make your individual.
Soups, Salads, and Sides
For the reason that meal is extra complicated we hold the edges tremendous easy on this evening. I’ll typically simply make a fresh salad and roast some broccoli. You could possibly even make a seafood salad with this tasty Caesar salad. The dressing is made with salty anchovies and I wish to high it with some sardines.
A household favourite recreated from a soup we had in a restaurant. This simple 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 loads. Whereas I nonetheless make a few of these recipes for the meal, I’ve simplified the method due to this soup. Historically generally known as cioppino, seafood stew options hearty fish fillets like halibut and shellfish. It’s a simple approach to pack most (or all) of the 7 sorts of seafood into one primary dish.
You can even 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 Ideas
Should you’re not counting on a seafood heavy soup, there may be fairly a number of meals to organize without delay. Luckily, it’s simple sufficient to do most of it forward of time. I usually put together all the things 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 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 normally simply serve some contemporary 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 strive.
Do you may have any particular traditions for Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner?