Our friend Debra joins us once again – this time to talk about her family’s delicious Christmas Eve recipe. Debra writes inspiring and magical posts as My Italian Garden on her personal Facebook page. Deb and I first met at a local watering hole and it wasn’t until the last 5 minutes of our conversation that she mentioned she writes posts as ‘My Italian Garden’ on FB. A friendship made in heaven – My Italian Garden meets Our Italian Table! Enjoy this wonderful Seven Fishes recipe and post from our inspiring friend. We love when Debra joins us at our table! Saluti, my friend!
“In ogni modo immaginabile, la famiglia è il link al nostro passato, ponte per il nostro future”. –Alex Haley
( In every conceivable manner, the family is the link to our past, the bridge to our future)
The Feast of the seven Fishes is celebrated on Christmas Eve, La Viglia di Natale, a religious and moving time of year when family comes together in prayer, celebrating the birth of Jesus, with a feast of seven fish/seafood dishes. The symbolism of the number seven, is interpreted in many ways, the number seven is the most repeated number in the Bible, it represents completion, seven days to create heaven and earth, the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, the seven hills of Rome, and so on…
Every family no matter how large or small has heritage and traditions handed down over the centuries, a melding of love, passion, faith and of course recipes that have stood the test of time. On Christmas Eve, in one night, we bring to the table a feast set for a King, that took centuries to create.
One such recipe that I have enjoyed every year is my son’s father-in-law, Rocco George’s salmon with ground mustard prepared on a seasoned plank and served just like that with crackers…..needless to say there is never any left…..thank you, Rocco, for bringing this dish to our table to enjoy and adding another layer of heritage and tradition for us to savor!
Il mio giardino all”italiana (My Italian Garden)
Planked Mustard Pepper Salmon
2 3/4 – 3 pound side of salmon, pin bones and skin removed
1 seasoned plank
For the marinade:
1/2 cup grainy Dijon mustard
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
(Cook’s note: You may use a baking pan instead of a seasoned plank but the fish won’t pick up a smoky flavor.)
1. Mix the marinade ingredients until smooth. Spread evenly with a pastry brush over both sides of the salmon, making coating thick. (I brush the plank with the marinade and place the salmon on top of it then put the rest of the marinade on the top part of the salmon. This allows the salmon to easily slide off the plank when finished.)
2. Place the plank on a cookie sheet and bake in a 450 degree, preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature. Serve the salmon on its plank or if you wish to place it on a dish, the salmon will easily slide off the plank when it is first removed from the oven.
To season a pine plank – purchase a natural pine plank (check to be sure you are buying natural pine, not wood that has been fireproofed etc.) 18 to 24 inches long and 9 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Measure your oven first to be sure the board will fit. Rub 2 ounces (1/4 cup) vegetable oil into both sides of the plank. Place on an oven rack and bake or “season” at 325 degrees for five hours.The board will give off some smoke and an odor similar to that of a table saw.(Beware that the smoke may set off a smoke detector so ventilate your kitchen!) Baking the plank will burn off tar and resins from the wood and impart a nutty, roasted aroma to foods cooked on the board. Once a board is seasoned, it can be used again.