The FEAST of The 7 FISH
by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke's book THE FEAST of The 7 FISH is getting a New Cover ... The Feast of The 7 Fish, Italian Christmas by Daniel Bellino Zwicke is the # 1 Best Selling Book on Amazon of this genre of The Feast of Seven Fish Italian ritual Christmas Meal, known in Italy as La Vigilia or Feste di Sette Pesci ..
The Feast of The 7 Fish is a wonderful Italian Christmas Tradition wereby you sit down to a meal (Feast) of 7 different fishes that represent The 7 Sacraments of The Holy Roamn Catholic Church .. This is a wonderful old tradition of The South of Italy which has been carried on by many Italian-Americans with Southern Italian roots, in particular families whose ancestry is from Naples (Napoli) and its invirons of Benevento and Avelino, as well as those Americans with Sicilain roots in their ancestry.
Yes, some have caried on this great tradition. Some make seven fish for the feast while some may make Baccala for the main course, and maybe some Baked Clams or Stuffed Calamari for an apetizer (antipasto). Some may just make the Baccala or some other fish for the main course and no other fish. Some make the whole seven fish fish, and some even make up to 11 different fish, though this is a rare meal. And it's perfectly fine to make just once fish, as long as you are having fish, you need not make a big elaborate meal but whatever you like, as long as you have a good time. And Daniel gives hints on how to make an easy seven fish feast without going through so much work, unless you really want to. It's all up to you.
BAKED CLAMS OREGANATA
Baked Clams are an All-Time Italian-American favorite, and for good reason, they are tasty as can be. There are two different styles of Baked Clams that we Italians love to eat, mostly at restaurants but at home as well. The two most famous baked clam dishes are; Clams Casino that have bacon, butter, garlic parsley, and minced Bell Peppers baked on top and Baked Clams Oreganata. The Clams Casino are quite good, but we will include the other Baked Clam dish, Baked Clams Oreganata for the Christmas Eve Fish Dinner as they do not contain any meat.
2 dozen Littleneck Clams
1 cup Bread Crumbs
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons dry Oregano
1/8 Olive Oil
¾ cup water
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, washed, dried, and minced fine
1. Wash Clams in cold running water. Place in a large pot with water and 2 of the garlic cloves. Turn heat on to high. When water comes to the boil, add clams and cover pot. Let cook about 3 minutes, just until the clams start opening. We do not want the clams to cook here, but just to open.
2. Remove clams from pot and let cool, reserving the cooking juices.
3. In a mixing bowl, add all remaining ingredients and stir to mix. When the clam cooking liquid has cooled down, add little by little to breadcrumb mixture which should already by slightly moist from the olive oil. Add clam broth a little at a time. You want the breadcrumbs to be moist, but “Not Watery.”
4. Pry the top half-shell of the clam off, leaving the calm in the bottom shell and discarding the top shell. Place about 1 tablespoon of breadcrumb mixture over each Clam covering them all completely with the bread-crumbs.
5. Place the Clams on a sheet-pan and bake in a preheated 400 Degree oven for 6 or 7 minutes. Then place calms under a broiler for 20 to 30 seconds being careful not to let the breadcrumbs burn. They can have a slight char but not burned. The Clams are now ready for serving.
Note: Two to three clams will be sufficient per person if serving the full Seven Fish Dinner. If you are making this for another meal and serving as an appetizer, 5 to 7 clams is the preferred serving size. At a cocktail party, two clams per person is good.
PS.. You can also make Mussels Oreganata in the same exact preparation, substituting Mussels for the Clams.
SECRET ITALIAN RECIPES
by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke