lunedì 3 marzo 2008

Lent and Easter Traditions in Italy

As most of us know, it is traditional in the Catholic religion to have a period of fasting, known as Lent , before the Easter Holiday. Easter is known as La Pasqua in Italy. The fasting today is commonly followed by choosing one food or type of food that you normally enjoy to eliminate from the diet during Lent, as a show of sacrifice. Typical foods “given up” for Lent include chocolate, sweets in general, meat, cheese or eggs. Lent, of course culminates with the celebration of Easter, when a huge feast is enjoyed, which is often laden with the wonderful foods we deprive ourselves of during Lent. It’s because of this that there are so many wonderful traditional foods eaten on the Easter holiday that are common around the world.

Because there are foods that are so commonly given up for Lent and then subsequently served on Easter, when it is okay to revert back to enjoying what we sacrifice during Lent, there are a lot of traditional Easter dishes that are served by many. Some common Easter traditional foods in Italy include frittatas, lamb, sometimes goat, artichokes, roasted garlic potatoes, a variety of specially prepared Easter breads, and many desserts rich in cheese and eggs.

For those of you who have given up meat for Lent, you are probably enjoying a lot of fish and seafood these days. Enjoy the following Stuffed Flounder recipe, a sampling from the upcoming book The Italian Kitchen, which contains many more delicious seafood recipes like this one!

Stuffed Flounder
Serves 6

4 pounds flounder, tilapia, or cod
½ pound shrimp, cleaned and shelled
¼ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons chopped Italian parsley
4 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
3 tablespoons dry white wine

1. Clean filets if necessary. Split filets partially, creating a pocket for stuffing.

2. Heat oil in a small skillet over high heat. Finely chop the shrimp, and saute. Add wine. Allow to cool. Stir in eggs, parsley, and diced tomato.

3. Preheat oven to 375°. Place a sheet of aluminum foil in a long shallow baking pan. Lay filets on the foil, fill pockets with shrimp stuffing, and drizzle olive oil over the filets. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Filets are done when they have an opaque white color and flake easily.

Nessun commento: