Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas eve

In Italy the Feast of the Seven Fishes occurs on Christmas Eve--you try to serve 7 different types of fish for dinner. In fact, as my mom notes, many Italian feast holidays traditionally feature fish the day before as an abstemious gesture before a celebration. We only managed three fishes this year. One was a tuna-olive tapenade-ish thing for appetizer that I'm going to try to recreate soon because it was delicious. Then we made New Orleans BBQ shrimp which were fantastic. Clearly, sausage are not fish, but Phil and I were driving out of Atlanta to Wisconsin by way of the Cajun Meat Company in Marietta, so it seemed essential to pick up some boudin. Boudin is a rice-stuffed sausage that hails from the same corner of Louisiana as my dad's family. Pops did point out that the stuff I brought from Georgia wasn't quite like they make it down there, but I was like "hey old man, you live in Wisconsin and there ain't nobody making no boudin up there at all, so count your blessings that you got any." And something more traditional--my mother made baccalĂ , which is salted cod. When you buy baccalĂ , it's a rock-hard slab of hard, salted fish that you need to soak for a couple days to reconstitute and desalinize. Then she fries it in a light breading and it's perfectly salty and delicious with lemon. I would have eaten it for breakfast the next day, I love it so much.

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