So..that being said my family, since we are Italian, tries to stick to this tradition of "fish". We do not however make 7 different kinds of fish. We make three: fried shrimp, fried calamari and fried smelt. I have included our entire Christmas Eve menu (our family is now actually too big so we do not actually celebrate this party on Christmas Eve...rather the saturday before) for you on this post. Our menu does not falter, does not stray...it is strictly the same every year! A tradition my Grandmother & Grandfather started way back when. We tried to honor them every year by keeping up the italian tradition!
While doing a little research on this subject I ran across a blog dedicated to The Feast of Seven Fishes
http://www.sevenfishesblog.com/. The authors of the blog actually have a book named after this feast, but it is a comic strip. Kinda funny and true....you will know if you come from an Italian family or friends with someone who is part of an Italian family! They also have a movie being made out of the comic strip.
ZESTY SHRIMP TEMPTERS
- 4 lbs. large fresh shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined, tails removed
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 TB. sugar
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp. whole allspice
- 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp. whole mustard seed
- 1/8 tsp. paprika
- 3 medium sized onions, sliced
- Combine the vinegar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper and sugar until dissolved. Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Put cooked shrimp into a large bowl (not metal). Pour vinegar mxture over; mix gently. Cover; refrigerate 24 hours.
- Before serving, drain shrimp thoroughly. Pile shrimp in a decorative bowl. Serve with frilled wooden picks.
KNORR SPINACH DIP
- 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 container (16 oz) sour cream
- 1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
- 1 package Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
- 1 can (8 oz.) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped
GRANDMA GEHRIG'S SHRIMP DIP
*My Grandma Gehrig is actually on the Swiss/German side of our family - my mom's side. But she used to make this amazing shrimp dip that she would make on Christmas day for us. My mom now uses her recipe.
- 2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese
- 2 cans Campbells Cream of Shrimp Soup (may be hard to find - call around first)
- 1/2 TB. dried onion
- 1/2 tsp. (or more if wanted) garlic powder
- Salt & Pepper to taste
*Can also add canned/drained baby shrimp or chopped cook shrimp.
FENNEL WITH OLIVE OIL & PARMESEAN
- 1 head of fennel - white part only - seperate into pieces
- 1/4 cup really fine olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesean cheese
- Ground black pepper
- Place fennel on serving platter.
- Drizzle olive oil all over fennel so that is spills over onto place bottom.
- Sprinkle parmesean cheese over fennel
- Ground fresh pepper over top
ASSORTMENT OF SALAMI, CHEESES & CRACKERS
SALAD WITH LEMON DRESSING
JIGGLE BELL SALAD/JELLO
- 1 1/2 cups cranberry-apple juice drink
- 2 (3 oz.) pkg. sparkling wile berry flavor gelatin
- 2 cups sparkling water, chilled
- 1 (15 oz.) can madarin oranges, drained
- Oil 7-cup jello mold. In medium saucepan, bring cranberry apple juice drink to a boil. Add gelatin; stir until dissolved. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
- Stir in sparkling water. Refrigerate 40 minutes.
- Fold orange segments into gelatin. Spoon into oiled mold. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.
- To serve, line serving platter wtih lettuce. Unmold gelatin onto lined platter. Cut into wedges to serve.
**Recipe & Photo Courtesy of Pillsbury
PASTA AILIO ( or in my family we just call it AILIO)
* This pasta dish is extremely simple to make. It just has a few ingredients, but it is how you use the ingredients that gives this pasta dish the great flavor!
- 4 lbs. vermecilli
- 6 garlic cloves - sliced
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cupwater
- black pepper
- grated parmesean cheese
- Cook pasta al'dente in a salted pot of boiling water.
- In the meantime saute sliced garlic in a large saucepan. Add olive oil and water and some ground pepper. Gently simmer for about 1/2 hour or so.
- Place pasta in large serving bowl. Pour olive oil - water mixture and toss well so pasta is completely coated.
- Serve with lots of fresh ground pepper and grated parmesean cheese.
- 4 lbs. shrimp (the largest you can find without calling them "prawns" - we get ours at Costco)
- 1 cup bisquick (plus more for dredging)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- Clean and de-vein shrimp, but leave tail on.
- Dip each shrimp in batter generlously - shake excess off. Place about 3-5 at a time in deep fryer and let sit for a few minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from deep fryer and place on paper towl lined baking sheets.
- Once we get a whole tray of shrimp we bring them to the "oven station". Here my mom takes the shrimp off the oil soaked baking sheet and places them on a clean baking sheet and in to a warm oven. The oven should be barely on. This step is just to keep them warm until 12 lbs. of shrimp are made!
- Serve shrimp warm when all is ready.
- 3 lbs. frozen broccolli spears
- olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves (sliced)
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated parmesean cheese
- Saute garlic in large skillet in about 1/2 cup of olive oil
- Add broccolli and saute for about 15-20 minutes
- Place broccolli in a large baking dish.
- Sprinkle the top of broccolli first with bread crumbs and then the parmesean cheese.
- Right before you are ready to serve place under broiler in oven. Broil for about 5 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
ORANGE CRANBERRY CAKE
- 2 1/4 all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 TB. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, chopped
- 2 TB. sugar
- 2 tsp. finely shredded orange peel
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 10 inch tune pan; set aside. In bowl stir together flour, oats, baking powder, soda and salt.
- In large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup sugar; beat until combined. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating on low speed after each addition until combined.
- Toss cranberries with 2 TB. sugar; fold into batter with orange peel. Spoon batter into prepared pan; spread evenly.
- Bake 50 - 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool on rack. Prepare Orange Glaze; spoon over cooled cake. Let stand until glaze is set.
ASSORTMENT OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES
HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT ICE-CREAM
* See past Christmas post for my recipe
FRESH FRUIT & NUT BOWL