Our wonderful contributor Erica Dunn wrote a piece on the traditional Christmas-time Feast of Seven Fishes. Photo via rbitzer.com
There is quite a bit of debate over the origins of the feast of seven fishes dinner on Christmas Eve. Some say its twelve, others say seven! Apparently the number doesn’t really matter, as long as there’s fish! Everyone has different stories past down from generation to generation.
Pro tip: Check in with your local fishmonger or the fridge at the co-op in advance to make sure that you have all the ingredients needed. This is the busiest time for the seafood industry so make sure you place your orders in advance.
Traditionally, the first course is something small, like a snack. Salt cod with bread or a salmon roulette with crackers is a popular starter. Just make sure to save room since you have a ways to go. The second course is something light like a grilled seafood salad with lemon and greens. The third course is where it gets to be hearty. Fillets of salmon, cod or bass are very common. You can also try grilled prawns, as long as this course is substantial.
Then there is pasta! The co-op sells beautiful dried pasta in the bulk section as well as Northern Farmhouse from the Catskills. Keep the pasta dish simple with parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Fifth course is a seafood stew of your choice. Even though it is the “heaviest” course, it is still fairly light. This can be a tomato based stew. You can use the crushed tomatoes that are sold in the large cans on the shelves of the co-op for this one. The stew can include whatever ingredients you’d like – any fish, clams, mussels, shrimp, squid… you name it!
The sixth course is a palate cleanser like a gelato, something with citrus. Try making it yourself with all the beautiful lemons and limes in the baskets by the windows. And last but not least is desserts! Cookies, cannoli or rainbow cookies are the most popular. Check out the baking ingredients on the small shelf next to the register, where you will find things like chocolate chips. Items like sugar will be found in the bulk section.