Back of the House

Feast of the Seven Fishes: Vermont Style

By Frederica Templeton / Photography By Brent Harrewyn | Last Updated December 31, 2014
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Spruce-cured smoked trout

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.

Warm-Smoked Vermont Trout With Heirloom Vegetables & Boiled Cider Brown Butter

Warm-Smoked Vermont Trout With Heirloom Vegetables & Boiled Cider Brown Butter
I chose this particular recipe because it not only demonstrates the straightforward, technique-driven cooking style I love, but it also showcases some of the wonderful foods that we are surrounded by...

Grilled Sardines with Fennel, Arugula and Blood Oranges

Grilled Sardines with Fennel, Arugula and Blood Oranges
This is a great holiday dish that is a good reminder that summer is only about 6 months away in Vermont!! Recipe tip: For a Vermont twist you can substitute local smelt for the sardines and either...

Spruce-Cured Smoked Trout

fresh Vermont trout
This recipe really represents Vermont’s outdoor lifestyle to me. I love how rustic and homey smoked trout is, especially when it comes from my friends who fish. This is a quintessential mountain...

Salmon Strudel

salmon strudel
I created this plate for a competition. It won a gold medal and now is one of our most popular menu items.

Vermont's Favorite Fish

Cooking with trout reminds me of fly-fishing with my dad. This recipe is a variation on a classic my dad would create after a day out on a Vermont river or for some other special occasion.

Parmesan-Crusted Halibut with Fire-Roasted Peppers, Arugula and Garlic Chips

Halibut is the most amazing fish on the East Coast and a personal favorite. The dish is also very popular here in the restaurant.

Mafalde con Baccala

This recipe invokes childhood memories of my nonna’s kitchen. I have been serving and eating this with family and friends as part of our Christmas Eve celebration for as long as I can remember.
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