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.


Seafood Risotto with Shrimp, Asparagus
and Mushrooms


Baked Stuffed Trout with Oyster Stuffing


Seafood Gumbo with Quail, Blue Crab and White Clams


Calamari Fra Diavolo with Squid Ink Pasta


Shrimp with Zucchini  Linguine


Shrimp and Lobster Ravioli with Spinach Basil Pesto and Shaved Parmesan


Fried Calamari


Cioppino Seafood Soup with Sourdough Rounds


Escarole and Fig Salad



Eating Healthy on a Budget: Make Dad’s Day

Go Ahead, Make Dad’s Day…..

This Father’s Day, give dad a break from his grilling duties and treat him to a healthy meal that he will truly enjoy. Keep the festivities light, while preparing a delicious, dad-approved dinner with these easy, yet simple ideas:

  • Make your own marinade by experimenting with a combination of fresh lemon or lime juice, a few teaspoons of olive oil, a splash of soy sauce and pinch of fresh herbs. See the recipe below from Food & Wine Magazine,featuring Salmon Steaks with Soy-Maple Glaze.

  • Instead of making beef the  main attraction, switch it up and go for the good healthy fats, with salmon and tuna steaks which are a great source of heart-friendly Omega 3 fatty acids. In being healthy the whole year-round , try to make them a part of diet by including them on your menu at least twice a week. Like a “Meatless Monday” or ” Fish on Fridays”.

fw200706_salmonsteaksPhoto Credit: James Baigrie, 2007. Salmon Steak with Soy Maple Glaze.

  • Instead of the standard sides of slaws and heavy potato salads laden with mayonnaise , have a selection of a colorful variety of seasonal fruits and grilled vegetables. You can even grill fruits, such as peaches and pineapples for a great dessert option.