Festa dei Sette Pesci or The Feast of the Seven Fishes begins here…..

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Disclaimer: I have no Sicilian grand-mother or any lineage going back to Italy. My interpretation of of La Vigilia is purely on cooking……..simple cooking, at that.

It feels like this is the one menu that I really want to cook at home right now. In one sense, as a cook, I feel like I have been preparing for it. Every thing is as local and fresh as I can get. But the rub is …….for this menu, I will only allow myself to use vegetables from my garden. I imagine that back in the day people ate simply on this day.

This composition is my expression of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Please enjoy.

 

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Course number one are oysters with Sicilian wild mountain fennel fronds and fennel pollen. I got the seeds for the fennel from a guy I know. I grow it for the pollen only. Truth be told, these fennel fronds were tough. I spat them out and ate the oysters without anything on them…..unadorned and as is. Eat like a peasant.

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Potatoes and garlic from my little kitchen garden. How about some soup next? To warm you up. Peasant style.

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Soup of local mussels with garden vegetables……potatoes, garlic, peas, thyme, mustard greens and parsley. All grown here. I try to grow heirloom varietals only in my little kitchen garden.

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Course number three is ……smoked mackerel and beet salad with crostinis. I’m fairly sure that mackerel do not run in the Adriatic Sea, but there are lots in New England. The technique of smoking foods usually occured in the Fall so as to preserve those items. Well, I love that combination of the smokey , saltiness of the smoked fish up against the sweet, sugary goodness of the roasted Chioggia beets. Chioggia is the name of a fishing village a few miles south of Veniice. I dressed everything with a shallot and tarragon {from my little garden] vinaigrette.

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After all that burst of energy, let’s pick up course number four tomorrow.

 

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