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 (a minimum of 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 known 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 attempt! And sure … there actually are seven fishes!

A Approach to Hold 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 move on the very best of the tradition, traditions, and heritage from both sides of our household. For the Italian facet, this usually means passing on the meals and recipes.

Attempting 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 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 identify suggests, this custom actually entails making seven (or extra) forms 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 forms of fish (and a few function many as 13 totally different fish varieties!). Seven is probably going the most typical quantity due to its robust 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 received a festive, significant, and scrumptious Christmas Eve meal.

Our Household’s Model 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 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 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 forms of seafood to make it match with this meal. The identify means “little orange” and they’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 exploit 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 2-3 of those per particular person. The children suppose they’re enjoyable and revel in serving to make them. I exploit this recipe and blend up the herbs and spices a bit of 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 conventional 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 seek 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 if you’re .

Scallops in Browned Butter

I like scallops and they’re an ideal a part of a vacation meal. Our favourite strategy to make them is with a bit of 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 pass over 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 complicated we maintain it sides and dessert tremendous easy on this evening. I make a fresh salad, roast some broccoli, and serve contemporary fruit with a bit of whipped cream for dessert.

That is fairly just a few meals to organize without delay, so I sometimes 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 sure that 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 children!

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!