A DELICIOUS Italian Christmas Feast!

Italian Christmas Food Feast Of Seven Fishes Recipes

Welcome to our crazy COVID 2020 Christmas! It wasn't a normal Christmas family celebration but instead one with a small group of friends celebrating the holidays. On the table was a three course feast starting with the Italian tradition of the Feast of Seven Fishes with a spread of wonderful Italian Christmas seafood. Then segueing onto pasta, meat and four desserts! Come and take a peek at the dishes we ate!

Italian Christmas Food Feast Of Seven Fishes Recipes
Tuna tartare with caviar and potato chips

Italian Christmas Food Feast Of Seven Fishes Recipes
Prawn cocktail

I'm sure for many of us, this year's Christmas will go down in infamy. It isn't the way most people would want to celebrate it. A couple of weeks ago when my Italian food twin Monica and I were discussing Christmas away from families we decided to collaborate on a friends Christmas feast.

Quicklinks to Recipes:

Scallops Venetian Style

Pasta Alla Vodka with Burrata

Apricot Chicken Roulade

Peach Tomato Caprese Salad

Macaron Christmas Tree

Gelato Filled Pandoro

Italian Christmas Food Feast Of Seven Fishes Recipes

Italians, particularly in Southern Italy have a tradition on Christmas Eve called the Feast of Seven Fishes. That's because they eat seafood on Christmas Eve and save meat for Christmas Day. For those of us having a hot summer the feast of seven fishes suits our Australian love of seafood at Christmas.

Italian Christmas Food Feast Of Seven Fishes Recipes
Baccalà mantecato

There are some key foods as part of the Italian Feast of Seven Fishes. Monica made baccalà mantecato which is a creamed salt cod. The process for this emblematic Venetian dish is wrapped up in Venice's history as a port and trading city. Making baccalà mantecato takes two to three days and the soaked codfish is cooked in milk, peppercorns and bay leaves and then is blended with a mild extra virgin olive oil. The baccalà ends up being so deliciously creamy (you must try it!) and it is served with grilled polenta.

Italian Christmas Food Feast Of Seven Fishes Recipes

Another dish Sarde in Saor or sweet and sour marinated sardines. This is also a Venetian dish, which is where Monica's partner Marco is from. The sardines are deep fried and then marinated in a sweet and sour vinegar solution with onions and raisins.

Italian Christmas Food Feast Of Seven Fishes Recipes
Kingfish sashimi

Monica also brought over some tuna tartare served with potato chips and caviar (this dish sums up Monica and I perfectly) and and kingfish sashimi dressed with soy sauce, red yuzu kosho, sesame oil and lemon juice as Crudo di Pesce is usually served at the Feast of Seven Fishes. She also brought freshly live Pambula shucked oysters with mignonette dressing. Along with my prawn cocktail and Scallops Venetian style, our feast of seven fishes was complete.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes
Venetian style scallops

I took care of most of the hot dishes as Christmas dinner was at our house. I made grilled Scallops Venetian style which are topped with parsley, garlic, olive oil and breadcrumbs and grilled.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes
Pasta alla vodka with Burrata

I also made a prawn cocktail, pasta alla vodka with individual burratas, apricot chicken roulade and gravy, hasselback potatoes roasted with prosciutto, a tomato and peach caprese salad.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes
Gelato Stuffed Pandoro

Then there were four desserts: a Gelato Filled Pandoro pistachio panettone and a macaron Christmas tree. Christmas isn't complete without a plate of Dear Reader Matilda's wonderful Italian biscuits! She bakes these every year and if we are lucky we get a box of these. My memory of the period between Boxing Day and New Year's Day is always nibbling on her biscottini and ciambellette.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

We also invited over our friends Ahana and Sagaar for Christmas dinner. They're originally from India and it was also their first time celebrating Christmas. When I asked them about dietaries Ahana said, "We don't really eat seafood apart from prawns," which was a slight cause for alarm. "We'll try everything," she reassured me.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Just in case, I made the apricot chicken roulade and potatoes for them. It came to Christmas Eve and we were very excited at our first friends only Christmas. With the strains of everyone's favourite Christmas song "All I want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey, Monica and Marco arrived with their bags of food and tools. She shucked the oysters and we set out the food on the Christmas table. Monica also loaned me her beautiful hand stamped tablecloth from Stamperia Bertozzi in Rimini, Italy.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Ahana and Sagaar arrived and after some Spiced Rum cocktails we sat down to eat. The first course was all the seafood and a green salad with palm sugar dressing. I was so happy to see that both Ahana and Sagaar dug into the seafood with gusto. It was their first time eating scallops and baccala and it was so nice to see them enjoying everything. Ahana loved the baccala and polenta and Sagaar loved the grilled scallops. The rest of us are seafood lovers and we devoured the seafood spread. It was hard to pick a favourite as it was all so delicious. If I could, I'd do the Feast of Seven Fishes every year!

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Then we served up the second course. I think by this stage we were getting too full to eat much (that's what happens with an Italian and Chinese come together to make dinner haha) but out came all the hot dishes.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Teddy was actually much better behaved than last year where he was a bit of a handful. He only really pestered us when it came to prosciutto. I swear he can hear the sound of prosciutto. When I accidentally dropped a tiny square of it he was in the kitchen like a flash. We joked that Teddy's biography will be called, "The Sound of Prosciutto."

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

We had to have a break then before dessert so we played some games. Then it came to dessert and I served up slices of the pistachio panettone that Carm had gifted me. This luxe panettone was literally the best panettone I've ever eaten. It came with some pistachio paste and a knife and the texture was just so incredibly and fluffy. Even Teddy was a massive fan and ran away with the plastic bag that it came in.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes
Just before he ran away with the panettone bag

And the icing on the cake? Monica's gift to me left me speechless and teary. It was a happy cry but it also felt like the whole burden of 2020 and everything just lifted off my shoulders after I shed some tears.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes
Matilda's delicious Italian Christmas Cookies!

Monica opened her iPad and asked me to turn off the music and then started to play a video for me. It was the actor Melora Hardin who played my favourite character from the office (Jan Levinson-Gould) with a personalised Christmas message just for me! I am a massive fan of The Office and my favourite episode is Dinner Party for its exquisite cringe and relatability. I also think that Jan is a misunderstood and villainised character.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Melora sang me a few lines from the song in the episode and basically crafted the most perfect video message ending in the tag line, "That's what she said." I've put it on my Instagram stories in case you want to see the video. I could not believe that Monica had thought of such an amazing gift-I didn't ever dare to dream that big!

And do you know what? This topsy turvy year ended in a big bang! And that's what she said.

So tell me Dear Reader, tell me ALLL about your Christmas! What did you eat? What did you do? Did you get any cool presents?

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Spiced Rum Orange Sparkling Cocktail

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Italian Christmas Food Recipes

All Original Recipes by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 5 minutes plus 4 hours steeping time

Cooking time: 0 minutes

  • 1/2 cup raisins or sultanas
  • 1 cup spiced rum
  • 3 cups soda water
  • 1 orange, sliced thinly and then sliced in half moons
  • Rosemary to garnish

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Step 1 - Soak sultanas in rum for 4 hours or overnight. Drain the rum which should be nice and sweet and spiced. Mix with soda water and serve with a glass with a slice of orange and a sprig of rosemary.

The rum soaked sultanas are great for fruit bread or served atop vanilla ice cream.

Scallops Venetian Style (Capesante Gratinate)

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Click here for Scallops Venetian Style recipe

Peach Tomato Caprese Salad

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Click here for the Peach Tomato Caprese Salad recipe

Pasta alla Vodka with Burrata

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Click here for Pasta alla Vodka with Burrata recipe

Prosciutto Hasselback Potatoes

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1.5 hours

  • 2kgs/4.4lbs potatoes (waxy like Dutch cream are ideal. mine were large potatoes around 110g/3.8ozs.)
  • 150g/5ozs. prosciutto, cut into pieces
  • 150ml/5flozs. duck fat, melted
  • Salt and pepper to season

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F and a line a tray with parchment. Wash and peel potatoes. Take a large spoon and a sharp knife and cut slices in the potato-the spoon will prevent you from cutting all the way through.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Step 2 - Place the potatoes on the tray and drizzle with 3/4 of the duck fat and roast for 30-60 minutes (depending on how big the potatoes are). You want the potatoes to start pulling apart. Then remove from the oven and slide slices of prosciutto between some of the cuts using a knife to prise the potato apart (it will be hot). Drizzle with a little more duck fat and return to the oven to 30 minutes until prosciutto is crisp.

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Gelato Filled Pandoro

Italian Christmas Food Recipes

Click here for Gelato Filled Pandoro recipe

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