Many Italian Americans have a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Our family over the past several years has been having this feast whether our day together falls on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Fish is something special that we don’t get to eat every day or even every week so Christmas being a day to celebrate something as awesome as Jesus’ birth is the perfect time to enjoy an extraordinary meal together. Our feasts are anything but traditional and have even been modernized to include such things as sushi and raw oysters. There are no rules here – you don’t even have to have exactly seven fishes and in fact we love to enjoy more like ten or eleven; the more the better. One of my favorite classics is steamed mussels in broth. It’s always a pleaser!
Mussels are also relatively inexpensive so you can afford feed a crowd without a large budget. My friends know that I love to save money whenever I can because it increases our ability to donate to the less fortunate, especially at Christmastime. We like to purchase gifts for our local parish that support members of our community who are in need and we also regularly contribute food to soup kitchens. We like to seize as many opportunities to give back whenever possible.
This recipe is quick and easy which is important on Christmas, especially when you have six or more fishes to make for your meal! If you have seen my recipes before, you know that I like to keep things simple anyway. If something is easy to get from the fridge to the table, I am more likely to make it again and again. The first step is to check your mussels. Make sure none are cracked or open and discard any that are. I was in a pinch and did not shop at my usual fish market and as you can see many of mine were duds. Lesson learned! Rinse and remove any beards.
- 4 pounds fresh mussels, cleaned
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup Swanson® Chicken Broth
- Juice from one lemon
- 1 cup roughly chopped parsley
- Fresh Italian bread
- Rinse and clean mussels, discarding any open or cracked shells
- Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté garlic for 30 seconds.
- Add mussels along with broth, wine and lemon juice.
- Cover and steam for about 5 minutes until mussels are fully cooked and open.
- Mix in parsley.
- Serve with fresh Italian bread.