Feast of the Seven Fishes


Story by Maddie Bane

The tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes originated in the southern region of Italy and has been around for many, many years. No one’s quite sure of the origin of its name, but the number seven is tied to several religious references — seven days of God creating Earth, the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, etc. Some believe that it could also symbolize the seven hills surrounding Rome.

Nicole Gardner, owner of The G-Free Spot, celebrates this feast with her family every year. “It’s a traditional Italian meal celebrating family and food and is held on Christmas Eve. Though the menu may change slightly year after year, the traditions remain the same. We gather in the kitchen and prepare our family feast together. The importance of the experience and time spent together far outweighs the grandeur of the food that results from it.”

The protocol for the seven fish menu is pretty loose. It’s typically different dishes based around fish or other seafood, usually decided by the best selection of fresh seafood in the region. Popular sides include fried artichokes, various pickled vegetables and squash blossoms, just to name a few.

Here are six fish often associated with the celebration.

Italian for “squid,” calamari can be breaded and fried, grilled, or even eaten raw when properly prepared.

Frutti di mare
Translating to “fruit of the sea,” frutti di mare includes shellfish such as mussels, clams and prawns.

Italian for “clams,” vongole is typically served baked as a snack-sized appetizer at the feast.

Translating to “salted cod,” baccala brings a higher profile flavor as opposed to regular cod. There are several ways salt cod is prepared, including dry salting, brining or pickling.

Scungilli refers to conch. The meat can be breaded and fried or simmered in stews or soups.

No matter what other dishes are present, capitone (another word for eel) is a must-have in several regions of Italy for the feast.

Looking to start your day in an Italian way? Order the Gluten-Free Veggie Frittata with an Espresso Macchiato from the G-Free Spot. Tap here to order online for quick and easy pickup at their Main Street Village location.

Similar Posts