Monday, December 28, 2009
The Feast of Seven Fishes
I discovered this Italian American Christmas Eve tradition on thenest a few years ago. Since Mr. W loves sea creatures and we are always looking for ways to use our good silver we adopted the tradition. In the past one was supposed to abstain from meat before a feast day, just as you would on Fridays during the entire year. Since Christmas is such a special occasion people would do it up with a seven course meal. From what I have read there is some debate over why there are seven courses; 7 is a symbolic number: sacraments, virtues, sins, etc. I think in a tiny way it reminds me of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, so it has to be good, right?
Over the past 5 years we have fluctuated in the fish and the recipes but it usually goes some thing like this:
oysters on the half shell
crab cakes with aoili
mussels in broth
baccala served with broccolini with anchovies (a bonus fish, if you will)
The crabcakes and the calamari we prepare in the deep fryer. We registered for one and my friend Mr. C bought it for us. We love it and love him for being generous enough to purchase such a crazy thing for us. It is kind of a pain to clean though. We have solved this problem by enstating Deep Fryer Season. Deep Fryer Season runs from Christmas Eve through Mardi Gras. This encompasses most of football season so all the novelties from the freezer aisle come into play...but I digress.
This year we decided that Midnight Mass with a two year old was a bad idea so we'd celebrate at the 5 o'clock children's Mass. This meant we had 3 courses before Mass and 4 after. This kind of worked for us. Kind of. We are always working on perfecting our timing. We ended up in the back row of the balcony. The littlest W was NOT thrilled to be there. Better luck next year.