Feast of the Seven Fishes: Vermont Style
The Feast of Seven Fishes, the Vigilia di Natale or Christmas Eve feast, has been a tradition for generations among Italian American families all across the country. Its origin rests in the centuries-old practice by Roman Catholics of not eating meat on certain fast days in the Church’s calendar. This feast, therefore, is a genuine Italian-style way to enjoy the fast.
The significance of the number seven is a matter of interpretation but no one quibbles with the idea that the Feast of Seven Fishes is a grand occasion to bring together family and friends around a holiday table to enjoy seafood in many different guises.
The traditional elements are antipasti to begin, followed by simple, classic pastas, and then three hearty main courses, and plenty of desserts to finish on a sweet note. Many Italian cooks like to include salt cod and eel but any kind of seafood can be used. We asked seven Vermont chefs to give us their recipes for a seafood dish to serve to your holiday guests … no Italian necessary.