Italians celebrate the traditional Seven Fish Dinner on Christmas Eve.
This is the big Christmas meal and, for religious reasons, has no meat.
Meat is eaten after midnight mass on the holiday.
This meatless meal, originally Sicilian, has been passed down mostly through marriage and is more popular with Italian Americans than in Italy.
The reason there are seven fish dinners on the table, is that they represent the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church and the seven days of creation.
There is no set menu for the feast.
- 12 large quahog clams
- 3 shallots chopped
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2-3 Tbsp clam juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Fill a large pot 1/3 with water and bring it to a boil.
Add the clams to the boiling water and steam until the shells open.
Remove clams from the pot and let cool enough to handle.
Discard any clams that have not opened. (if they don’t open they may be dead don’t eat them).
Remove the clams from the shells and chop.
Break apart the clamshells.
Pick about 12 of the nicest shells and clean them, getting them ready for the stuffing.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a fry pan, melt the butter on medium heat and add the shallots and celery.
Once the onions and celery have softened about 2-3 minutes, add the garlic.
Cook the garlic for 1 minute, then add the parsley, breadcrumbs, chopped clams, lemon juice, and clam juice. Stir until the stuffing mixture is completely moistened.
If too dry, add a little more clam juice; if too wet, add a little more breadcrumbs.
Fill the cleaned clamshells and place them on a baking dish.
Scoop a little stuffing mixture onto each clamshell.
Sprinkle with Paprika.
Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes.
Recipe Source; Steven Valenti Original Recipe