The Feast of The Seven Fishes ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

 

Mangia Italia
 
 
 
 
 
The Feast of The 7 Fish
 
My Aunt Helen used to make the famous Italian Christmas Eve Dinner, “The Feast of 7 Fishes,” The 7 Fish of the Seven Sacraments. I know she made it because I
used to hear her talking about it when I was a little kid. Although I shared
many wonderful meals with my dear Aunt Helen, I never had the pleasure of
having the famous Christmas Eve Dinner “La Vigilia” Feast of 7 FishFeast of 7 Fish with her. We always had Christmas Eve dinner with the immediate family and Aunt Helen had the Christmas Eve with her brother and sister and other family
members. Aunt Helen was born in Salerno, Italy and was my Uncle Franks (1 of my Mother’s 3 brothers) better half. So for our Christmas Dinner my mother would
make an Antipasto of Salami, Provolone, Peppers, and Olives, followed by Baked
Ziti and a Baked Ham studded with cloves and Pineapple rings.
The first time I ever had the mystical dinner was about 12 years ago with my cousin
Joe, his family and my girlfriend Duyen. We had been talking about this famous
Italian Feast a few weeks previous, and were thinking of making it.  Joe told me he wanted to have  the Christmas  Eve  Meal of  The Feast of The 7  Fishes, known
in Italy as  La Viglia (The Vigil) or “La Festa Dei Sette Pesci,” which is also known in Italian-America as The Feast of The 7 Fish, that signify the 7 Sacraments. Now, how’s all that for a mouthful?
This Dinner, La Vigilia originated in Southern Italy, especially in and around the
environs of Napoli. The Feast of The 7 Fish is a Southern Italian tradition that does not exist in the rest of Italy, it is of the South. La Viglia, or “The Feast of the  Seven Fishes” as it isknown to Italian-Americans commemorates the waiting (Vigil) of the Baby Jesus to be Born at Midnight and the Seven Fish represent the Seven Sacraments of  the Roman Catholic Church. Some also that the Seven Fish might signify the 7 Days of Creation, or The Seven Deadly Sins, but most believe the 7 Fish pertain to the Seven Sacraments.
So Joe asked me if I wanted to make this festive and all important dinner, to
perform the ceremony. He didn’t need to ask twice. I had never made it before
and was dying to do so. For a long time I had yearned to partake  in  this celebrated old  Southern  Italian Ritual, and this was my  chance. Naturally I was excited, so was Joe.

The anticipation of the Great Feast to come was of happy expectations and excitement.
And what for the menu? I know Aunt Helen made Bacala, Shrimp Oreganata, Mussels, Baked Clams, Calamari, Octopus, and eel, all much Loved Southern Italian (especially Napoli and Sicily) Creatures of the Sea. We decided which fish we wanted and how  to  cook each one.  Much thought and planning went into the menu and its execution.  Joe wanted; Langoustines, Lobster, and Bacala. Alexandra asked if I would make Stuffed Calamari. We also decided on Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Clams Oreganata, and Cozze al Posillipo. The menu was set. Duyen helped me with the Calamari which we stuffed with Shrimp, parsley, breadcrumbs, and Peas. We braised the Calamari with tomato, White Wine, and herbs, and if I must say so myself, the Calamari came out superbly.  The Stuffed Calamari were a lot of work to make, but well worth the effort as they were a huge hit with all. The Macari boys, Joey, Edward, and Tommy, as well as sister Gabriella,  Alex, Duyen,  Jose  and Sergio from Barcelona were all in
attendance.
The Mussels Posillipo were cooked with garlic, white wine, parsley, and tomato. The sauce is great to dip your bread into. This dish was one of my mother’s favorites back in the days when few Americans other than those  of
Italian  origins ever ate these wonderful little bivalves. Now-a-days every-body does. As a young boy I remember my mother sending me to Bella Pizza in East Rutherford to get an order of them for her. She always gave me a few and I have Loved them ever since.
Joe helped me to cook the Langoustines. They are hard to find and I had to order a
ten-pound box from Silvano in order to get them.  The best way to cook langoustines is to split them in half and sauté them on each side in olive oil with a little butter and garlic. We served the Langoustines the same way as Silvano does as we feel his recipe is the best and everybody loves them that way.  The Langoustines are served with a salad of thinly shaved fennel and celery dressed in olive oil and lemon with some split cherry tomatoes. Absolutely delicious!!!
The Lobsters we prepared the best way possible, the New England way, steamed and served simply with drawn butter and lemon wedges. There’s nothing better on
Earth, well except for Sunday Sauce of course.
Well, that Christmas Eve Dinner The Feast of Seven Fishes was quite a wonderful
experience. It was a huge success but quite a bit too much work and actually, too much food, everyone was kind of full already by the fifth fish. The following year we decided on incorporating the Seven Fish into three courses instead of seven separate  ones  as it’s just too much,  too much to eat and too much to cook, a lot of work, and who needs to  work that hard on Christmas.  It was a good decision. We
still had 7 different fish, which is a must. Serving these 7 Fish in three courses was a good idea as it is much more manageable that way, both to cook and to eat.
On this Feast of The 7 Fish in “3 Courses” we decided to make the Stuffed
Calamari, which I would not have  chosen again  because it  was  a lot of work, but it was Alex and Joe’s favorite and they said that it was a must. This was our Antipasto Course. 

Alexandra and her mom helped me,  so the amount of work was cut down
and  divided into three, “A good thing.”
The stuffed calamari took care of two of the seven the shrimp that were stuffed
into the squid.
The second course (Primi) of Linguine Frutti de Mare consumed four of the Seven
Fish required for the meal.  It consisted of Mussels, Clams, Lobster, and Scallops cooked with garlic, oil, herbs, and just a touch of tomato.
The seventh and final fish was fresh Cod that I roasted and served with a sweet and
sour onion sauce (Bacala Fresca Agro Dolce). Everybody went bananas for it especially cousin Joe who raved at each and every dish I put down.  It’s a pleasure cooking for Joe as his for eating and for the Italian American way of life, the food, the wine, the rituals. Joe truly Loves and savors the experience, so I always love
to cook for him, Alexandra, their children, or just about anyone for who savors
the experience so well. This goes the same for my cousin  Anthony Bellino his wife Debbie and  their three girls Chrissy, Danna, and Allison,  along  with all my
close friends and family.
It makes cooking a joy rather than a chore. When cooking for family or friends,
you give two of life’s great gifts,  a tasty  Home-Cooked meal combined with a
little bit of Love.  Scratch that. “A whole lotta Love!”
If you don’t want to go so crazy, with 7 Fish as it’s quite an undertaking, you should try to do an odd numbers; 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11. Three (3) is a Nice Number and Represents the Holy Trinity of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Buon Natale!
 
 
 
LEARN HOW to MAKE
 
 
The FEAST of The SEVEN FISHES
 
ITALIAN CHRISTMAS DINNER
 
 
“La VIGILIA”
 
 
 
 
In THE FEAST of THE 7 FISH
 
by Daniel Bellino “Z”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Italian American Thanksgiving

TURKEYnTRMMINGS

The ITALIAN-AMERICAN THANKSGIVING

Yes we have TURKEY with All The TRIMMINGS

 

But we First Start with ANTIPSTO

 

Antipasti

Maybe ANPASTO MISTI

Like This One with assorted Salami Olive, Peppers, and Cheese

 

 

Then, Being ITALIAN, It’s on to a PASTA COURSE

5619a-lasagnabolognese

Most Likely, a Special Treet for THANKSGIVING

LASAGNA

Or other Baked MACCHERONI

 

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The, it’s on to The TURKEY

With all its TRIMMINGS

Just like other AMERICANS

 

THEN ?

PumpkinPIE

PUMPKIN PIE

“Gotta Have Pumpkin Pie” !!!

 

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CANNOLI

ITALIAN PASTRIES and COOKIES

And ESPRESSO

 

NeapolitanMACCHINETTA

An ESPRESSO

Made From Nonna’s MACCHINETTA

NAPOLETAN ESPRESSO POT

 

 

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SUNDAY SAUCE

Learn How to Make ESPRESSO at Home

LASAGNA Recipe

And an ITALIAN-AMERICA

THANKSGIVING iN NEW YORK

ALL in SUNDAY SAUCE

and More …

by DANIEL BELINO-ZWICKE

 

 

STAY TUNED, More to Come !!!

Recipe Sunday Sauce Italian Gravy

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CLEMENZA TEACHES MICHAEL
How To Make SUNDAY SAUCE
“GRAVY”
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Richard Castellano & Al Pacino
In Francis Ford Coppola ‘s THE GODFATHER
 Watch Author Daniel Bellino Making SUNDAY SAUCE




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DANIEL BELLINO Making SUNDAY SAUCE

alla CLEMENZA

WATCH The VIDEO




The BOOK
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SUNDAY SAUCE

by Daniel Bellino “Z”

RECIPES :

CEMENZA’S GODFATHER SUNDAY SAUCE
DOLLY SINATRA’S MEATBALL SUNDAU SAUCE
JOE DiMAGIO’S Mother’s SUNDAY SAUCE ITALIAN GRAVY
MARINARA SAUCE
and More ..


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DANIEL Buys His SAUSAGES, BRACIOLE,
GROUND MEATS, TOMATOES,
and OLIVE OIL at FAICCO’S PORK STORE

On BLEECKER STREET
In GREENWICH VILLAGE, NEW YORK

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THE INGREDIENTS For THE “GRAVY


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SUNDAY SAUCE

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SIMMERING 

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“WHEN COOKING”
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“DON’T FORGET To PLAY SINATRA”

“MANGIA BENE” !!!




 

 

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MEATBALLS alla SINATRA

 

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AL PACINO

Fellow NEW YORK ITALIAN
SICILIAN AMERICAN














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How to Make GNOCCHI

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GNOCCHI POMODORO
Potato Gnocchi with Tomato
 
 
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Learn How to make POTATO GNOCCHI
From NONNA
 
 
 
 
BEST TOMATO SAUCE RECIPE EVER !
For GNOCCHI POMODORO
In MANGIA ITALIANO
RECIPES and STORIES
Of ITALIAN FOOD
by Daniel Bellino  “Z”
 
 

HOW to MAKE NDUNDERI
RICOTTA GNOCCHI
Rom MINORI
The AMALFI COAST
 
 
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SUNDAY SAUCE
alla BELLINO
alla  SINATRA
 
 
 
 
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Cookbook Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke
In POSITANO
The AMALFI COAST
ITALY
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La TAVOLA Italian Food Adventures

 

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ITALIAN-AMERICAN NEW YORKERS

ADVENTURES of THE TABLE

by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

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Ever Dream of taking a Wonderful Journey. A Journey through Italian-American New York and Italian America., complete with pots of Sunday Sauce, Ethereal Bolognese Sauce, Platters of Antipasto, Perfect Espresso, with trays of Cannoli and Sfogiatelle. Do you Dream of one day Eating the famed Christmas Eve, “Feast of the 7 Fish” or crave a perfect plate of Spaghetti Carbonara? Do you have visions of the Amalfi Coast of Lemoncello, Fiano, and a flawless Plate of Linguine al Vongole. Would you like to know how to throw the perfect Italian Dinner Party, complete with Antipasti, Pasta , Chianti, and Dolce, while the sounds of Frank (Sinatra) and Dino play along? Do you want to know which are the best; Italian Restaurants, Caffes, Pastry Shops, and Pork Stores. Would you like to know how to make the Perfect “Negroni” or pick out the perfect Italian Wine and how to make a textbook Bolognese? Where to go in Italy and what to see? If you’d like to live these things, or just read about them vicariously, then take the journey, the Beautifully Wondrous Journey of La Tavola. Eat as Al Pacino, Jake LaMotta, Sinatra, and Dino had eaten over the years. La Tavola is part Cookbook, Guide-Book. Some have said it’s like a Italian-American New York version of a YEAR in PROVENCE, but with Italian Food in New York, and with Italian-Americans instead of French Food, people, and places? LA TAVOLA entertains and Inspires with stories, antidotes, and recipes of Sunday Sauce (Gravy), Sausage & Peppers, Meatball Parms, and the “FEAST of The 7 FISH” Then MANGIA! Italian-American New Yorker’s Adventures of the Table. 

 

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Marcella Hazan

ESSENTIALS of CLASSIC ITALIAN COOKING

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