Sicilian Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve | Wellness Mama


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I discovered early on that if you get married, you additionally marry your husband’s sports activities groups (at the least 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 referred to as “Feast of the Seven Fishes” finds its roots.

For those who’re questioning what meals to make for Christmas Eve dinner, give this a strive! 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, despite the fact that it’s simply a part of their cultural historical past. In fact, we wish to go on one of the best of the tradition, traditions, and heritage from all sides of our household. For the Italian facet, this usually means passing on the meals and recipes.

Making an attempt to have a wholesome life-style 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 allergy symptoms 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) sorts 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 Youngster’s arrival on Christmas morning.

The quantity seven can also be up for debate, as many households serve fewer sorts of fish (and a few function many as 13 completely different fish varieties!). 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.

NOTE: You don’t should make all the dishes without delay to do this custom! I definitely didn’t begin making all seven originally. 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 has taken me nearly a decade to lastly get into a very good routine for this particular Christmas Eve meal. As you may think about, there may be a whole lot of prep work and cooking concerned! I’ve added a dish annually till I bought to the total seven over the previous few years. These are our favourite dishes and those 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 sorts 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 individual. The children assume they’re enjoyable and revel in serving to make them. I take advantage of this recipe and blend up the herbs and spices somewhat annually.

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 wonderful 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 major 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 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 in case you are .

Scallops in Browned Butter

I really like scallops and they’re an ideal a part of a vacation meal. Our favourite strategy to make them is with somewhat 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 very similar to this one (I omit 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 Facet Dishes

Pasta dishes usually accompany this seafood unfold, however for the reason that 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 recent fruit with somewhat whipped cream for dessert.

That is fairly just a few meals to organize without delay, so I usually put together every part 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 strategy to make the meal extra festive is to have some particular wines available. Since I found Dry Farm Wines, I additionally make certain we now have 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’ve got 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!