Nightlife :: Special Events

Recipes for the Feast of Seven Fishes

Saturday Dec 17, 2005
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Each Christmas Eve, more than 100 -- and sometimes as many as 130 -- members of the Capalbo family gather in Stamford, Conn., for La Vigilia, the Feast of Seven Fishes. Here are some of their favorite recipes:

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Grandma’s Baccala and Broccoli for 130
Source: Joan Knudsen

Baccala, or salt cod
1/8 inch of olive oil covering bottom of a big pot
1 1/2 pounds of chopped onion
20 quarts of jarred tomatoes (The Capalbos use homemade)
3 cans of tomato paste
3/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves of minced garlic
4 cans of anchovies
1 can (28 ounces) unseasoned bread crumbs
8 heads of broccoli

Soak baccala in water in refrigerator for three days, changing the water twice a day.

On Christmas Eve, combine the 1/8 inch of olive oil and onion in the pot and glaze onion.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir and let cook for three to four hours.
Add baccala to pot and cook for half an hour. Be careful not to break it apart when stirring. Then take fish out and serve it hot.

Saute 3/4 cup of olive oil, garlic and anchovies until the anchovies are dissolved. Add bread crumbs and work slowly over low heat until all oil is absorbed and bread crumbs brown. Set aside.

Steam broccoli and put it in a big dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and add sauce from baccala.

Bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.

Serves 130 people.

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Shrimp Scampi
Source: Margaret Capalbo

2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 to 5 cloves chopped garlic
2 sticks butter
Dash of salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small skillet, melt butter and saute half of the garlic.

Lay shrimp in a baking dish. Add melted butter and garlic. Place in the heated oven.

After 10 minutes, add the remaining ingredients. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes more.

Serves 4 to 6 people.

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Fried Christmas Fish
Source: Emily Capalbo

4 pounds of cleaned smelts
10 pounds of cleaned eels
3 pounds fillet of sole
1/2 gallon of cooking oil
3 pounds of flour with salt and pepper added

Wash all fish several times. Cut eels about one and a quarter inches long and no bigger. Leave smelts whole. Cut sole in half if fillets are too big. Drain all fish well.

Use a large bowl with two to three pounds of flour. Heat oil in two frying pans.

Starting with the smelt, roll fish in flour and place in hot oil. Keep adding oil so the fish cooks evenly.

Cook to a golden brown. Test fish to see if it is done. Remove cooked fish to a separate pan.

Repeat above steps with sole.

Fry eels last because they take longer to cook. Make sure to test eel for doneness.

Serves 130 people.

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Stuffed Sole
Source: Anne Capalbo

1 cup of chopped onion
1 jar (4 1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 pound fresh cooked or canned crab meat, drained
8 sole or flounder fillets
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons water
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

In a saucepan, saute onion and mushrooms in butter until onion is tender. Add crab meat and heat through.

Sprinkle fillets with pepper and paprika.

Spoon crab meat mixture on fillets; roll up and fasten with a toothpick. Place in a greased 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish.

Combine the soup, broth and water; blend until smooth. Pour over fillets.

Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley; return to the oven, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serve over rice if desired.

Note: Aunt Anne cooks the fish first then puts soup on top with cheese.
Serves 8 people.

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