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Every year in the United States, many people celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Typically, the family gathers around a feast of seven different seafood dishes or one or two different types of fish prepared in seven different ways.

The ancient tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic custom of abstinence from meat and dairy products on the eve of certain holidays, including Christmas.  The number seven is rooted back in ancient times and it can be connected to multiple Catholic symbols: in fact, the seven seems repeated more than 700 times in the Bible. Also, according to the Roman Catholic Church, seven are the sacraments, the days of the Creation, as well as the deadly sins. Hence seven courses!

Italian-American families rekindled the Old Country’s Christmas Eve tradition in the 1900’s by preparing a seven-course seafood meal (hence the name of the newly found tradition) that both made them feel close to their homes, while celebrating the sea, a major connection in Italy. Today, it’s considered one of the oldest Italian traditions!

To get you started try our Forever Oceans Crudo di Pesce made with fresh amberjack!

Crudo di Pesce (Fish Tartare)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh amberjack, tuna or salmon cleaned, filleted, & diced

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Extra virgin olive oil, to taste

2 celery sticks, strings removed

1 small cucumber, peeled & diced

1 honey crisp apple, peeled & diced

1 kiwi, peeled & diced

1 ginger root, finely grated

1 orange, segments and juice of

Salad greens, for plating

Instructions:

Take a medium size bowl, add the amberjack and season with a pinch of salt, black pepper and drizzle of olive oil, leave to one side.

Place the celery, cucumber, apple, kiwi, ginger and orange segments in a bowl. Season with a small amount of olive oil, the orange juice and a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

To create the dish, arrange a quarter of the fruit and vegetable mixture around each serving plate, then top it with the fresh amberjack. Finish by scattering the salad greens and any leftover dressing over the amberjack. Serve.

Recipe: Chef Mark Allison