Christmas 2014: Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Feast of the Seven Fishes (Italian: Festa dei sette pesci), also known as The Vigil (Italian: La Vigilia), is a  Southern Italian and Italian-American celebration of Christmas Eve with meals of fish and other seafood.

The long tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstinence.A traditional holiday meal  may include seven, eight, or even nine specific fishes that are considered traditional. The most famous dish Southern Italians are known for is baccalà (salted cod fish). The custom of celebrating with a simple fish such as baccalà is attributed to the greatly impoverished regions of Southern Italy. Fried smelts, calamari and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years.

A typical modern Christmas Eve  Feast  may include some combination of anchovies, whiting, lobster, sardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels and clams.

The menu may also include pastas, vegetables, baked or fried kale patties, baked goods and homemade wine. This tradition remains very popular to this day.

Below are few of the dishes that were apart of our Feast of the Seven Fishes.

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Seafood Risotto with Shrimp, Asparagus
and Mushrooms

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Baked Stuffed Trout with Oyster Stuffing

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Seafood Gumbo with Quail, Blue Crab and White Clams

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Calamari Fra Diavolo with Squid Ink Pasta

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Shrimp with Zucchini  Linguine

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Shrimp and Lobster Ravioli with Spinach Basil Pesto and Shaved Parmesan

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Fried Calamari

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Cioppino Seafood Soup with Sourdough Rounds

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Escarole and Fig Salad

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Pannattone

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