Sicilian Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve

I realized early on that while you get married, you additionally marry your husband’s sports groups (a minimum of with my man… go Reds!). This extends to cultural traditions too, particularly if he comes from a robust cultural background. That’s the place one of our favorite Christmas traditions known as “Feast of the Seven Fishes” finds its roots.

If you’re questioning what meals to make for Christmas Eve dinner, give this a strive! And sure … there actually are seven fishes!

A Way to Keep Tradition Alive

My hubby got here from a big household of Italian descent on one facet. He and all of his siblings establish as Italian, regardless that it’s simply half of their cultural historical past. Of course, we need to go on the greatest of the culture, traditions, and heritage from all sides of our household. For the Italian facet, this typically means passing on the meals and recipes.

Trying to have a wholesome life-style isn’t about throwing traditions centered round meals out of the window. Far from it! Instead, I’ve modified meatball recipes, pasta recipes, and even biscotti recipes to suit our allergic reactions and dietary wants.

One Sicilian-American custom specifically was straightforward and enjoyable to proceed with our household. It is known as “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” in the US however merely “La Vigilia,” (the vigil)  in southern Italy. As the title suggests, this custom actually includes making seven (or extra) varieties of fish on Christmas Eve.

Feast of the Seven Fishes: It’s What’s for Christmas Eve Dinner!

There is way debate as to the historic origin of this custom, although we proceed it just because of its connection to household. Eating 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 Child’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 as a result of of 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.

NOTE: You don’t need to make all of the dishes directly to do that custom! I actually didn’t start making all seven at the starting. Pick only one or two and also you’ve obtained a festive, significant, and scrumptious Christmas Eve meal.

Our Family’s Version of “La Vigilia

It has taken me virtually a decade to lastly get into a superb routine for this particular Christmas Eve meal. As you possibly can think about, there’s a lot of prep work and cooking concerned! I’ve added a dish every year till I obtained to the full seven over the previous few years. These are our favourite dishes and the ones I’ll be making this 12 months for our Christmas Eve dinner:

Crab and Clam Arancini (Appetizer)

Sicilian Crab Cake Arancini Recipe

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 are historically crammed with mozzarella cheese and meat, however I exploit 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 these per person. The youngsters suppose they’re enjoyable and luxuriate in serving to make them. I exploit this recipe and blend up the herbs and spices just a little every year.

Shrimp Bisque

savory seafood bisque recipe

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 all the time jogs my memory how good it’s and to place it again in the household meal rotation.

Baccalà- Salted Cod in Butter & Wine Reduction

Baccalà is a conventional most important course for the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Traditionally, that is made with true Baccalà cod that has been preserved in salt and dried. Since this may be laborious to search out in our space, I’ve made my very own model utilizing recent cod and salt in a butter and wine sauce. I’ll share my recipe quickly, however here is a classic Baccalà recipe if you’re .

Scallops in Browned Butter

I really like scallops and they’re an ideal half of a vacation meal. Our favourite option to make them is with just a little browned butter, olive oil, and recent herbs. Since there are such a lot of different dishes at this meal, we solely make one per person. My recipe is very similar to this one (I pass over the capers) and I’ll share my model quickly.

Skillet Bang Bang Shrimp with Sriracha Dipping Sauce

All 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 Tips and Side Dishes

Pasta dishes typically accompany this seafood unfold, however since the meal is extra complicated we maintain it sides and dessert tremendous easy on this evening. I make a fresh salad, roast some broccoli, and serve recent fruit with just a little whipped cream for dessert.

This is sort of a number of meals to organize directly, so I usually put together the whole lot besides the scallops forward of time. I gently reheat the dishes, sauté the scallops, toss the salad, and we’re able to go!

Another option to make the meal extra festive is to have some particular wines readily available. Since I found Dry Farm Wines, I additionally be certain we’ve got 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 will have any particular traditions for Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner? I might love to listen to what your loved ones does!

On Christmas Eve, I prepare the traditional Sicilian-American feast of the seven fishes with crab cake arancini, shrimp bisque, salted cod and more!

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