Ok, I know the holiday season is still weeks away – we still have Thanksgiving on the way, and evidence of Halloween is still everywhere! But as soon as the snow hits, I start craving cozy foods that make the dinner table warmer. If you’re thinking, “Well why not just call it a Winter Menu,” read on. If you’ve thinking, “Man, I’d love to win the ingredients for these recipes” well, read on!
I have no Italian roots, but on our trip to Italy this fall I could totally imagine an Italian Christmas—it even snowed on us a few times, making the mountain towns we were visiting look like those miniature Christmas villages, complete with little gondolas. Talk about a magical winter wonderland. So even though it was August, I was piling on layers of clothes (mittens, hats, coats), and standing as close to the fire as was safe.
The Feast of Seven Fishes is an Italian Christmas Eve tradition, which is partly what makes this menu so holiday. I’ll happily eat fish any day of the year, so if you decide that this menu is perfect for mid-fall (uh, yea, I did serve it to a bunch of friends in September…), I won’t judge you. Heck, throw up some lights and tell your friends it's the Feast of Seven Fishes. They might just let you get away with it.
But the minute they take a bite of the Panforte, laced with cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest, they’ll think of the holiday season. It doesn’t even matter what they celebrate, be it the Hanukah, Kwanza, the Solstice, etc., etc., etc. Sitting around a table with people you love and good food evokes the same feeling in all of us, one of belonging, warmth and happiness. Call it whatever you want.
The candied ginger jewels, the toasted hazelnuts, the smooth chunks of Perugina’s Bittersweet Chocolate Bar—it all comes together and in one solid bite sings: “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”
Do you know what else will evoke singing? These Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles. OH MY GOSH.
Ok! Now for the giveaway!
Colativa Olive Oils and Perugina Chocolates has been kind enough to offer Foraged Dish readers a heaping basket of goodies to use while making these recipes! There will be TWO winners! Enter here.
Now… on the recipes!
Serves: 6 | Total Time:
- 1.5 pound filet Sea Bass
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/4 cup Colativa Bella di Cerignola Olives, minced
- 1/2 cup Colativa Artichoke Hearts, minced
- 1/2 cup Colativa Sun Dried Tomatoes, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced basil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Colativa Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Colativa Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
- Optional: 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 475°F. Scoop coconut oil into baking dish and place in oven.
- While the coconut oil heats, prepare the bruschetta: combine the minced artichokes, tomatoes, olives, parsley, basil and pine nuts (if using). Toss with olive oil and balsamic, and then season to taste with salt & pepper.
- When coconut oil is sizzling, remove from oven and place filet in baking dish, skin-side down.
- Press the bruschetta onto the top of the fish in an even layer. Return to the pan to oven, and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Fish is done when no longer opaque and easily flakes.
- 1/2 cup dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2/3 cup almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons cocoa
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves, ground
- Juice from 1 orange
- Zest from ½ orange
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/3 cup candied ginger, chopped
- 2 ounces Perugina Bittersweet Chocolate Bar, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a food processor, blend the dates until they form a sticky paste. Add the honey, almond flour, salt, cinnamon, cocoa, ground cloves, orange juice, and orange zest. Pulse food processor until well combined.
- Place mixture in a bowl. Fold in hazelnuts, walnuts, ginger, and chocolate--there will be lots of nuts and chocolate, so this may be difficult, just do your best. Sometimes I'll pull out a walnut or two if they are quite large, or press a few of the chocolate chips in better once everything is spread into the pan. Press dough into a greased baking dish (I used a 9-inch tart pan, but a 8x8 square dish would also work). Bake for 25-35 minutes, until slightly browned on top.
- Panforte will be quite dense – cut with a sharp knife into small wedges.
Disclaimer: Colativa and Perugina provided me with product and compensation to make these recipes. Recipes and opinions are my own.