As part of our IYKYK: Holiday Tradition Edition series, we made our way over to Mark Indelicato’s home to observe the Italian tradition, Feast of the Seven Fishes. He showed us how his family has made the fish-forward stew for generations and credits his great-grandmother’s version with his intense love for seafood. As the name suggests, the more variety of fish, the better…
How do you celebrate the holidays?
The holidays are all about family for me, whether that be blood family or chosen family. Christmas is usually my favorite holiday. I’m always nostalgic for the smells and tastes of the foods I grew up eating at Christmastime.
What’s something special about your Night of the Seven Fishes table?
The serving dish that we traditionally serve the stew in has been in my family for as long as I can remember, and has had many different owners. I believe it was my great-great-grandmother that purchased the serving dish, and this stew recipe happens to be hers as well! I think that’s probably why my family has always used it for this dish in particular!
Do you have a favorite memory tied to this recipe?
My favorite memory of this recipe comes from when I was very small (probably in pre-school I want to say?) and my great-grandmother would make it for me as a way of introducing me to seafood. The dish is definitely credited with kicking off my love of seafood as well as a classic holiday dish.
What does this holiday mean to you?
The feast of the seven fishes is something that really connects me to my Italian heritage, but my family’s twist on this traditional feast has come to symbolize my being an Italian-American, and the ways in which classic cultural traditions morph and change over time. The smells and the taste of the dish also remind me of the women in my family that should be credited with teaching me how to cook and how important food — and feeding people — can be in deriving joy and self worth.
Mark’s Seven Fishes Stew
YOU NEED1 large yellow onion, diced
1 bunch of parsley
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large can whole peeled tomatoes
1 large can crushed tomatoes
2 boxes of couscous
Your choice of fish + shellfish (pictured here: mussels, clams, shrimp, and halibut)
P.S. you can use whatever variety of fish you like — it doesn’t have to be 7!
TO DO1. Start by cooking your couscous according to the box instructions and set aside.
2. Prep your shellfish by removing any sand or sediment under cold water.
3. Drizzle olive oil in your Perfect Pot on medium heat and add diced onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and saute until just soft.
4. Add both cans of tomatoes. Roughly break up the whole peeled tomatoes in your hands. Stir to combine the onion and garlic mixture. Season again with salt.
5. Fill the empty tomato cans with water and add them to the pot. You’re going to want this to look a little more watery than you think, as the stew will reduce.
6. Add half of the bunch of parsley. Bring everything to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer. Let the stew reduce by half.
7. Add halibut to the pot first, followed by shellfish. Cook until the fish is tender and the shells are open. (If using shrimp, you’ll know they’re done when they turn opaque.)
8. To serve, put couscous in a bowl followed by the stew. Garnish with more black pepper, fresh parsley, and a grating of parmesan cheese.