Piazza Seafood Looks Into the Feast of the Seven Fishes and Its Origins

With the Christmas Holiday right around the corner, many families will continue traditions or start new ones. The Feast of the Seven Fishes, which came to America sometime in the late 1800s to early 1900s, has been a time-honored tradition for quite some time for Italian-Americans.  

Long thought that Italian-Americans looked to honor their connection to the sea and thus its food source, many believe that the Feast originated from the Southern region of Italy. The number seven holds many meanings for the European country with its famed Mediterranean coastline. Seven seas, seven mountains surrounding Rome, seven virtues, and the Seven Wonders of the World, (in the modern World one being the Coliseum in Rome) to name a few. So it is no wonder that this infamous Italian feast most commonly features seven seafood dishes.

Seven seafood dishes usually make up The Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Festa dei sette pesci, also known as La Vigilia (The Vigil) or The Eve goes by as many different names as it does preparations. Seven seafood dishes, or 12, to represent the 12 apostles, one or two different fishes, or seafood prepared seven different ways, or just a seafood stew, it is clear that seafood is the star of this Feast. Here are a few dishes that pay homage to this long-standing tradition:

Spicy Mussel Stew

Seared Scallops with Butter Herb Sauce

Head-on Shrimp with Chile Oil and Scallions

Lobster Fra Diavolo

Whiting Sautéed with Lemon

Seared Eel Fillets

Salted Cod

Have a friend of Italian descent that has never heard of the Feast of Seven Fishes? You are not alone. Italy has so many regions with different celebrations of the iconic holiday that many have never heard of it. One thing that is common though is the use of seafood throughout the menu. So if you aren’t daring enough to tackle a menu right out of the gate, look up Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner offerings in your area. Here are two of our local restaurants who are having some impressive celebrations:

AVO, 5908 Magazine Street, New Orleans

Josephine Estelle (Inside the ACE Hotel), 600 Carondelet Street, New Orleans

Enjoy! Happy Holidays from Piazza Seafood!

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