We celebrate Christmas Eve by gathering together as a family and eating a traditional Italian holiday meal, the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Preparation begins days, or even weeks, before with the salt cod being placed in a bowl of water to rehydrate it. Salt cod, or “baccala”, will be used in a piquant salad with capers, olives, and celery.
Shrimp and squid (both the rings and the tentacles) are either fried, used to make pasta sauce, or added to the traditional vinegar-dressed fish salad of octopus, squid, and shrimp. Scallops are either baked or fried and mussels are steamed in a rich tomato broth.
This recipe for Mussels in White Wine and Tomato Broth is a standard and quite a hit with our family. Be sure to serve it with bread so your guests can soak up the wonderful broth left behind.
Steamed Mussels in White Wine Tomato Broth
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 can San Marzano crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 6 oz bottled clam juice
- 4 pounds mussels (preferably cultivated), scrubbed and beards removed
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute.
- Add wine, tomatoes, clam juice, and pepper flakes; bring to a boil.
- Add mussels. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until shells open.
- Remove from heat, and discard any unopened shells. Stir in parsley. Serve.