Monday, December 20, 2010

Seven Fish Dishes for Christmas

I just found Grocery Cart Challenge's list of 101 stocking stuffers...more good ideas here! One is beloved by Daughters, who are always visitiing the laundromat -- a roll of quarters.
    Also, Jenn at Frugal Upstate, bless her heart, has 68 ideas for stuffing guys' stockings -- Hooray! Husband tends to be quiet to start with, and is not exactly forthcoming about what he'd like in this department. (I can't get the ATV-for-hunting he'd really like, to fit in the sock.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    A reader asked about the Seven Fish Dishes. Having seven fish dishes (or nine, or as many as thirteen, according to this Wikipedia entry, "The Feast of the Seven Fishes") is an old Italian-American custom for Christmas Eve. The fish (a popular way to stay 'meatless') represent the seven sacraments of the Catholic church.

     I can hear your next question -- are we Italian? Naahh...though we LOVE their food, and Husband spent some time in Naples, Rome and elsewhere during his Navy years. (P.S. We don't go to a Catholic church, either.)
     When the girlies were little, and I was often housebound with them, I started trying to celebrate a different country's customs every year at Christmas time. The Italian version -- the seven fish dishes -- was such a hit that I've repeated it every year, and it has now become a Brick tradition.
     The dishes change, depending on available seafood, what I can find on sale...and our budget. Certain elements remain, though; we always have at least one soup, one whole baked fish, some kind of shrimp. And ALWAYS Angels on Horseback. (The girlies inhale any leftovers while we're washing dishes afterward.) Here's this year's menu:

1.  Clam Chowder (New England style with cream, onion and potatoes -- no tomatoes for us)
2.  Angels on Horseback (oysters wrapped with bacon, skewered with toothpicks, and baked about 20 min. at 400 degrees until crunchy. YUM. Don't knock these until you've tried them!)
Devils on Horseback (chicken livers wrapped with bacon, ditto. I know -- these aren't seafood, but they're a nice complement to the Angels. Don't count them.)
3.  Salmon Creole (salmon filets with a spicy coating)
4.  Shrimp Ajillo (the garlicky Panamanian version of Shrimp Scampi)
5.  Crab Legs 
6.  Tuna with Homemade Noodles (I'll give the recipe for this later)
7.  Rocky Mountain Trout (Daughter #2's contribution; she caught them herself. Baked with mushroom stuffing.)

Plus some kind of greenery in the vegetable department, hot rolls or biscuits and a refresher course of sorbet or sherbet. (All that seafood taste really adds up.) Friend Constance is bringing dessert, and I'll add a platter of chocolates and cookies for after-meal nibbling.
    We dress up in our best...and take our time, with a glass of wine and much talk. Each dish is counted as it appears, and small amounts are the rule, for obvious reasons. Little sighs of pleasure appear for someone's favorite, or a groan from the person who partook too much of another specialty.
      It's a wonderful time.

1 comment:

Patricia B said...

This menu sounds WONderful, my husband is Italian/American and this year I am going to try to make the 7 fishes menu for us and our holiday guests. Isn't it great to have it on Christmas Eve instead of on the Day when everything is CrAzY ? No huge dinner on the Day, just a nice leisurely brekkie and coffee, and open those presents when I'm good and ready!

The Moral of the Story: