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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Feast of the Seven Fishes

On Christmas Eve it is Italian tradition to have something called Feast of the Seven Fishes. According to Wikipedia, this is how it is celebrated: The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian Christmas celebration. Today, it is a feast that typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. However, some Italian-Americanfamilies have been known to celebrate with nine, eleven or thirteen different seafood dishes. This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. It is unclear when the term "Feast of the Seven Fishes" was popularized.The long tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstinence – in this case, refraining from the consumption of meat or milk products – on Wednesdays, Fridays and (in the Latin Church) Saturdays, as well as during Lent and on the eve of specific holy days. As no meat or butter could be used on such days, observant Catholics would instead eat fish, typically fried in oil.The meal may include seven, eight, or even nine specific fishes that are considered traditional. The most famous dish Southern Italians are known for is baccalà (salted cod fish). The custom of celebrating with a simple fish such as baccalà is attributed to the greatly impoverished regions of Southern Italy. Fried smelts, calamari and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years.
Last night, like every year, mom, nan and I made Baccala. Enjoy some pictures!

Nan preparing the cod.

Mom putting the cod (in batter) into the oil.

Finished product

  • 1 Lb Dried Baccala`
  • 1 Cup  Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup  Grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 4 Cloves garlic  finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs  Parsley finely chopped
  • 1 Cup  Water
  • Salt
  • Frying oil 


  1. That looks delicious. :) I look forward to your full Christmas post!

  2. Replies
    1. Merry Christmas, Stephanie. :) Hope it was enjoyed!