I learned about the Feast of the Seven Fishes when I moved to Philadelphia. My good friend Cathy taught me about it and it fascinated me. Most years I go to Ohio for the Christmas season, but this year I decided to stay in Philadelphia. Needless to say, the feast of the seven fishes does not exist in rural northwest Ohio.
I have experienced the feast once before at the now closed restaurant Sbraga. It was a lovely, fancy, and ultimately expensive meal. I was talking to my friend and colleague about the meal the other day, and he told me that he cooks the feast himself for him and his wife.. After talking to him about it, I resolved to figure out how to cook a version of this meal for Sam and I on Christmas Eve.
We opened up a very good good bottle of sparkling wine that we picked up in South Africa and dug in. Here is the menu I prepared.
#1 Oysters on the half shell and Mezcal oyster shooters
They would only sell oysters by the dozen, so we ate 6 last night. Tonight, I made an oyster shooter to kick the night off and served the remaining with lemon. They came from Connecticut. Quite briny in the best way possible.
#2 Bruschetta with Anchovy
Simple and delightful. Sam made the bread the day before from leftover whey he collected from making labne. The anchovies were a good quality.
#3 Scallop with roasted oyster mushrooms
The green sauce is a puree of parsley, lemon, white wine, pepper, and touch of honey. I was really proud of this dish.
#4 Micro Green Salad with smoked salmon
I eventually dressed this salad with a lemon, horseradish and mascarpone dressing.
#5 & #6 Shrimp and clams over with linguine
This was the weakest dish and yet I loved it. It was a bit too much like a broth, rather than sauce. I made a quick stock out of the shrimp shells with some saffron. White wine and butter made the dish for me and I bet it will be better tomorrow.
#7 Roasted Branzino
We ate this with roasted sweet potatoes and olives. There is also a bed of dandelion greens, but I did not blanch them long enough and they were bitter. The fish was super good and I ended up eating my piece with some leftover mascarpone dressing.