2020 Festival Cucina Recipes

Orange and Fennel Salad with Anchovy Dressing

The Feast of the Seven Fishes Festival is a reunion of sorts. Italian or not, everyone is treated like family. And like any good family, food is a way to show love.

Think about it. Some of your fondest memories and funniest stories happen around food. That’s why the annual Festival of the Seven Fishes Festival and Festival Cucina cooking school is highly anticipated.

We love getting a glimpse into other people’s lives. Or in this case their kitchens. So not only do you get to see how some family favorites are prepared, the chefs talk about their family traditions (and sometimes dysfunction) around celebrating the Feast of the Seven Fishes during Christmas Eve.

salad dressing in a mason jar with lid


Orange and Fennel Salad with Anchovy Dressing 

1  fennel bulb, sliced finely
3 hard-boiled eggs
3 medium oranges
1 package of arugula
1/4 cup black  olives

Boil the eggs, peels, and let cool. Wash the fennel and thinly slice. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

Remove skin and pith from oranges and slice. Arrange the arugula, oranges, fennel, eggs, anchovies, and olives on a platter. Drizzle with the Anchovy Lemon Dressing. 

Anchovy Lemon Dressing 

In a food processor or jar, add 5 chopped anchovy fillets,  the juice, and zest of a  lemon, a  ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil,  3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon mustard, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 minced clove of garlic and some ground black pepper. Blend or shake it up in a jar. 

Spicy Calabrian and Grilled Bread

Spicy Calabrian and Grilled Bread

 1-2 pounds of  large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 jar  Calabrian chilies 
The juice and zest of a lemon
½ cup of  olive oil
A pinch of salt
fresh parsley, chopped

 In a  food processor add the chilies, lemon zest, olive oil, and salt. Pulse. Toss the shrimp and chili sauce together.  In a hot cast-iron skillet cook, for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the shrimp are pink.  While the shrimp are still hot, squeeze lemon over the shrimp. Finish with fresh parsley. 

To Grill the Bread: 

Brush bread with olive oil and char in a preheated pan. 

Roasted Cod with Potatoes and Olives

Roasted Cod with Potatoes and Olives

2-3 pounds of cod
Bag small potatoes
Kalamata olives
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Bay leaves, parsley and thyme
Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, garlic, herbs, olives, and red pepper flakes; drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, roast the potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes then turn.  Season the fish. Add the fish, lemons, and olives to the potatoes and cook for another 15 min. 

Baked Crabs


Baked Crabs

Dungeness crabs
Parsley & Lemons
1 glass of wine

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 

Place cleaned (Dungeness) crabs in a baking dish.  Add a few cloves of garlic, a stick of butter, fresh lemons and herbs, and a cup of white wine. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crab turns pink. Baste the crab with the garlic butter wine sauce. 

Pita Piata

Pita Piata  

2 large oranges
3 pounds coarsely chopped walnuts
3 pounds raisins
2 pounds brown sugar
3 cups granulated sugar
 teaspoons allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
5 pounds flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups olive oil
1 large cake yeast
 1 cup warm water (to dissolve yeast)
3 eggs
2 cups wine
2 cups melted butter

First, prepare the filling. Use a food processor to grind up the two oranges in their entirety – peels and all and make sure to catch the juices. Add 3 pounds of chopped nuts to the orange in a large bowl. Next, add three pounds of raisins. One pound of brown sugar follows, along with two cups of granulated sugar. Two teaspoons of cinnamon, one teaspoon of allspice are the final ingredients. Mix everything together and then allow it to stand overnight in a cool place.

To prepare the dough first dissolve one large cake yeast in a cup of warm water. Mix five pounds of flour, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of allspice, two cups of oil, three eggs, two cups of wine, and two cups of melted butter. Mix and knead to ensure the ingredients are properly combined.

Combine one pound of brown sugar and one cup of white sugar – this will be placed on the rolled out dough when the time comes.

Separate the dough into ten equal portions. Roll the dough out. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle sugar mixture on the dough. Next spread fruit and nut mixture on the dough.

Roll up into cylinders, then bring ends together like a horseshoe and pinch the ends. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for fifteen minutes. Then brush egg whites wash onto the pita pitas and allow to bake for another twenty to twenty-five minutes. While warm butter the tops and drizzle honey over them. 

Bon Natale!

Which Festival Cucina dish are you most excited to try?












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