I finally decided upon a few new and old dishes for our Christmas menus. We will be eating a variety of foods this year from traditional Italian, to Irish to American and back to Italian. I think it seems fitting for this multi-cultural family. For Christmas eve the Italians do not eat meat so we are going to try baccala’ fritto and baccala’ con pomodori. These dishes have a long history in Italy. The baccala’ is a dried and salted cod filet that one must reconstitute before cooking. Back in the times before refrigeration, fish and many other meats and foods were preserved in salt. You can still find many of those foods preserved in salt today such as salumi and other salamis.
I have wanted to make baccala’ for a year now but have been waiting for Christmas eve. To say that I have been inundated with recipes for baccala’ is an understatement, I follow a ton of Italian blogs and food blogs dealing with Italian cuisine. Almost all of them have this yearly meal in their recipe list. The one I chose to follow is found at Bleeding Espresso. We’ll have some pasta along with the fish and probably a simple vegetable salad. Then we are off for the Christmas eve service at church.
On Christmas day I plan to have cinnamon rolls all ready to bake, making the dough the night before, so we can eat them while we open gifts. It’s truly become our tradition to have cinnamon rolls, coffee and orange juice during the gift time and it’s better now that I have a very simple recipe from Small Home Big Start that uses baking powder instead of yeast. For brunch we’ll be making panettone french toast, bacon, sausage and maybe potatoes. I haven’t decided if we’ll need those. For dinner we are making a corned beef for sandwiches, deviled eggs, olive tray, cheese tray and oh, some of those lil’ smokies in BBQ for the kids.
On Sunday the 26th, we’ll be having our Italian foods of meatballs, ricotta ravioli, tossed salad, antipasti tray of meats and cheese, bread and desserts. I have lots of cookies and panettone here to be eaten. I’ll be following all of this up by cooking again for the following weekend when more of my family comes to visit. The highlight of that meal will be homemade pasta and braciole’.
I will be taking some pictures of making the baccala’ just so we can have a history of this new tradition. Part of this tradition is also visiting the Italian food store and making our treasured purchases. I’m taking my boys along and I hope to have fun.