I learned in the beginning that when you get married, you also get married to your husband’s sports teams (at least with my son… Go Reds!). It extends to cultural traditions, especially if it comes from a strong cultural background. Where one of our favorite Christmas traditions, called the “Fest of the Seven Fish”, has its roots.
If you’re wondering what to cook for Christmas Eve, give it a try! And yes; there really are seven fish!
A way to keep tradition alive
My husband was from a large family of Italian descent. He and all his siblings are known as Italians, even though it is part of their cultural history. However, we want to carry on the best culture, traditions and heritage from each side of our family. In Italian, this often means going through food and recipes.
Trying to have a healthy lifestyle is not about throwing away the tradition of eating out the window. Away from it! Instead, I’ve modified meatball recipes, pasta recipes, and even biscuit recipes to meet allergies and nutritional needs.
A Sicilian American tradition in particular was easy and fun to continue with our family. It’s called the “Seven Fish Festival” in the United States, but only “La Vigilia(Monitoring) in southern Italy. As the name suggests, this tradition literally involves preparing seven (or more) kinds of fish for Christmas.
Feast of the Seven Fish: This is the Christmas dinner!
There is much debate about the historical origin of this tradition, although we continue it simply because of family ties. According to Roman Catholic tradition, eating fish at Christmas is associated with abstaining from meat on Fridays, as well as on special Holi days. Avoiding meat on Christmas Eve would be a sign of anticipation and anticipation for the arrival of the baby Christ on Christmas morning.
Seventh, the debate is over, as many families offer fewer species of fish (and some offer different types of fish!). Seven is the most common number in most parts of Europe, including Italy, due to its strong historical and cultural significance. In biblical history, number seven represents perfection and perfection.
Note: You don’t have to make all the dishes at once to try this tradition! I didn’t start making seven in the beginning. Just pick one or two and you’ve got a festive, meaningful and fun Christmas meal.
Our Family Version “La Vigilia“
It has taken me almost a decade to get back to a good routine at the end of this special Christmas meal. As you can imagine, this involves a lot of prep work and cooking! I’ve added one dish each year until I’ve come in at full seven in the last few years. These are our favorite dishes and I will be preparing them for my Christmas dinner this year.
Shrimp and Clam Arkini (Appetizer)
Arinsini is traditional Italian food, but I have added two types of seafood to fit it. The name means “little orange” and they are small fried rice balls that, once cooked, resemble oranges. It’s traditionally full of mozzarella cheese and meat, but I use seafood, herbs and pepper as a tasty alternative.
Muscle in wine sauce
A dish that really looks like a favorite but can’t be easy to make. Since there are many courses in this food, we make only 2-3 of each. Kids think they’re fun and help make them. I use this recipe and mix a little bit of herbs and spices every year.
It was made from a family favorite soup we had at a restaurant. This prawn shrimp bisque is really easy and tastes amazing. Making it for Christmas always reminds me of how good it is and putting it back into the family food circulation.
Buckle – Salty cod in butter & lack of alcohol
Baklal is a traditional basic course of the Seven Fish Festival. Traditionally, it is made with true Buckle code that is safe in salt and dry. Since it can be hard to find in our area, I have developed my own version using fresh code and salt in butter and wine sauce. I’ll share my recipe soon, but if you’re interested, here’s the classic Buckle version.
Scallops in brown butter
I love scallops and they are a great part of the holiday meal. Our favorite way to make them is a little brown butter, olive oil, and fresh herbs. Since there are many more dishes in this dish, we make only one person. My version is very similar to this (I left out the captors) and I will share my version soon.
Scratch Bang Crab with Sriracha Dipping Sauce
All the flavors of the famous Bang Bang Shrimp without deep frying pan! I cook the shrimp in butter until it is served with a sweet pepper and sarirach sauce. I’ll share my recipe soon, but it looks good too.
Tips and side dishes
This seafood spread often consists of pasta dishes, but since the food is more complex, we keep it at night and make it sweeter at night. I make a fresh salad, make some broccoli, and offer fresh fruit with a little cream for dessert.
These are quite enough foods to prepare together, so I usually prepare everything except ahead of time. I gently heat the pots, fry the scallops, toss the salad, and we’re ready to go!
Another way to make food more festive is to have some special alcohol in hand. Since I discovered Dry Farm Wine, I also make sure that we have several bottles of their white wine served to make the perfect pair, as well as some shiny fruit in fancy glasses for kids. Water too!
Do you have any special traditions for Christmas Eve or Christmas Dinner? I would love to hear what your family has to say!