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I discovered early on that whenever you get married, you additionally marry your husband’s sports activities groups (not less than with my man… go Reds!). This extends to cultural traditions too, particularly if he comes from a powerful cultural background. That’s the place one of our favorite Christmas traditions referred to as “Feast of the Seven Fishes” finds its roots.
If you happen to’re questioning what meals to make for Christmas Eve dinner, give this a attempt! And sure … there actually are seven fishes!
A Method to Preserve Custom Alive
My hubby got here from a big household of Italian descent on one facet. He and all of his siblings determine as Italian, although it’s simply a part of their cultural historical past. In fact, we need to move on one of the best of the tradition, traditions, and heritage from either side of our household. For the Italian facet, this usually means passing on the meals and recipes.
Attempting 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 biscotti recipes to suit our allergic reactions and dietary wants.
One Sicilian-American custom particularly was straightforward and enjoyable to proceed with our household. It’s referred to 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 entails making seven (or extra) varieties of fish on Christmas Eve.
Feast of the Seven Fishes: It’s What’s for Christmas Eve Dinner!
There may be 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 in addition to particular Holy Days. Abstaining from meat on Christmas Eve would have signified ready and anticipation of of the Christ Baby’s arrival on Christmas morning.
The quantity seven can be up for debate, as many households serve fewer varieties of fish (and a few function many as 13 completely different fish varieties!). Seven is probably going the commonest quantity due to its sturdy historic and cultural significance in lots of elements of Europe, together with Italy. In biblical historical past, the quantity seven represents completeness and perfection.
NOTE: You don’t must make all the dishes without delay to do that custom! I definitely didn’t begin making all seven at the start. Choose only one or two and also you’ve received a festive, significant, and scrumptious Christmas Eve meal.
Our Household’s Model of “La Vigilia“
It has taken me nearly a decade to lastly get into a superb routine for this particular Christmas Eve meal. As you may think about, there’s loads of prep work and cooking concerned! I’ve added a dish annually till I received to the total seven over the previous couple of years. These are our favourite dishes and those I’ll be making this yr for our Christmas Eve dinner:
Crab and Clam Arancini (Appetizer)
Arancini are a traditional Italian food, however I’ve added two varieties of seafood to make it match with this meal. The title means “little orange” and they’re small fried balls of rice that resemble an orange as soon as cooked. They’re historically full of mozzarella cheese and meat, however I take advantage of seafood, herbs, and peppers for a flavorful various.
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 2-3 of those per particular person. The children suppose they’re enjoyable and luxuriate in serving to make them. I take advantage of this recipe and blend up the herbs and spices somewhat annually.
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.
Baccalà- Salted Cod in Butter & Wine Discount
Baccalà is a standard most important course for the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Historically, that is made with true Baccalà cod that has been preserved in salt and dried. Since this may be arduous to search out in our space, I’ve made my very own model utilizing contemporary cod and salt in a butter and wine sauce. I’ll share my recipe quickly, however here is a classic Baccalà recipe in case you are .
Scallops in Browned Butter
I like scallops and they’re an ideal a part of a vacation meal. Our favourite approach to make them is with somewhat 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 is very similar to this one (I miss the capers) and I’ll share my model quickly.
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. I’ll share my recipe quickly, however this one also looks good.
Serving Ideas and Aspect Dishes
Pasta dishes usually accompany this seafood unfold, however because the meal is extra advanced we preserve it sides and dessert tremendous easy on this night time. I make a fresh salad, roast some broccoli, and serve contemporary fruit with somewhat whipped cream for dessert.
That is fairly just a few meals to organize without delay, so I sometimes put together all the things besides the scallops forward of time. 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 make certain we’ve a number of bottles of their white wine to serve for an ideal pairing, together with some glowing fruit-infused water in fancy glasses for the youngsters!
Do you may have any particular traditions for Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner? I’d love to listen to what your loved ones does!