The story of the 7 Fishes dinner starts with an Italian American Christmas eve feast. This tradition includes multiple seafood dishes. During this tradition it is common to celebrate with friends and family and to match the seafood with a fine-tasting wine. The tradition of the feast usually involves two different types of fish prepared in seven different ways. The reason for the seven fish dishes is because in Italy the country’s regions celebrate Christmas Eve differently. Therefore, the traditional Italian 7 dishes introduced from each of the different regions of Italy became one huge tradition to bring families together to celebrate. The food is very different depending on family to family and personalization and traditions, but here are some of the common 7 dishes of Italy.
Firstly, the idea of eating fish on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic idea of excluding meat, and dairy from eve of Christmas. Secondly, going onto the descriptions of a traditional 7 fish dinner, keep in mind that each dish comes from the rich culture of the regions in Italy. Families in Piemonte celebrate with agnolotti, pasta with fresh meat, and in Rome the tradition calls for minestra di pesce, which is a fish-based soup. One region in particular Sardegna, there isn’t a Christmas eve without malloreddus, small semolina gnocchi. Of course, for dessert there must be panettone and pandoro, the fluffy cakes that wish people love and prosperity, a big part of the tradition. Other classic holiday desserts like torrone, hazelnut-studded chocolates, and panforte.
Looking to create your own Traditional dinner of the Seven Fishes at home? Explore these recipes found from Eatly.
1. Acciughe Marinate alla Ligure Ligure (Marinated Anchovies) – Europeans most known seafood to snack on is anchovies, so for this to be a part of the Italian Tradition shows how they incorporate the whole sense of culture from the surrounding areas around Italy.
2. Brodetto di Branzino (Wild Sea Bass Soup) – if you like sea bass, this looks like a simple soup with seasonal vegetables and signature catch of the day.
3. Crudo di Pesce (Fish Tartare) – Usually served with fish and fruits.
4. Paccheri con Sugo di Mare (Seafood Pasta) – The seafood pasta must include that extra chunky creamy sauce that matches the flavors of the fish.
5. Pesce al Forno (Baked Fish) – Simple crusted fish that is mainly served as cod, tomato-flavored crackers to make it crispy.
6. Pesce alla Griglia (Grilled Fish) – This is for the fresh flavor of a fish, depending on the catch of the day. Always grilled this dish and is a must part of the 7 dishes for feasts in Italian traditions.
7. Pesce in Umido (Fish with Roasted Fennel and Taggiasca Olives) – This is just a another simple fish dish that is served with some traditional Italian olives.