TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS DISHES IN AMALFI AND SORRENTO
Throughout Italy, the days between Christmas Eve and the Epiphany are marked by sumptuous lunches and dinners.
Cheered by the lights of the Christmas tree, sitting around well-laid tables with friends and family, Italians spend their Christmas holidays eating traditional foods.
And each city has its own.
So, here are some of the traditional Christmas dishes of the Amalfi Coast and the Sorrento peninsula.
What are the traditional Christmas dishes of the Amalfi Coast and the Sorrento peninsula?
As you can imagine, fish is the main ingredients of many Christmas dishes on the Amalfi Coast and the Sorrento peninsula.
It is used in appetizers, such as canapés, but it is certainly in first courses that it gives its best; spaghetti with clams, with seafood or the Colatura di Alici of Cetara. If you don’t know it, Colatura di Alici is a tasty sauce made from fermented anchovies.
Anchovies also return in main courses such as stuffed escarole.
On Christmas tables cod is never missing. People use to boil it or cook it in the Neapolitan-style, with tomatoes, olives and capers.
Other common fish dishes are the octopus salad, mussels au gratin, salmon or swordfish carpaccio.
Cold cuts are one of the most popular appetizers.
During Christmas, the locals prepare various first courses based on meat. For example, lasagna, timbales of pasta, cannelloni stuffed with meat or homemade ravioli.
A typical first course is “maccarune ‘ncasciate“, a very tasty baked pasta prepared with different ingredients.
Instead, those who love tradition prefer tortellini in meat or turkey broth.
As for the main courses, the most popular meat-based dishes are roast beef, lamb ribs, baked kid. But also stuffed turkey, chicken or capon.
On the Christmas tables on the Amalfi Coast and the Sorrento Coast there is never a shortage of local cheeses, such as mozzarella or the spicy provolone of Vico Equense.
Cheese is an excellent appetizers, but it is also a recurring ingredient in various first courses, such as timbales of pasta, or in filled crepes.
Vegetable-based side dishes always accompany meat and fish.
They range from simple salads, baked potatoes or peas, to more elaborate dishes such as the stuffed escarole, the pan-fried broccoli, the insalata di rinforzo and the insalata russa.
Insalata di rinforzo is translatable in “reinforcement salad”. It mixes boiled cauliflower, green olives, gherkins, spring onions, pickled papaccelle and salted anchovies.
Insalata russa, “the Russian salad” mixes various boiled vegetables, diced and seasoned with plenty of mayonnaise sauce.
Papaccelle are small sweet peppers, usually filled with tuna or meat and then stewed in oil.
CHRISTMAS DESSERT OF THE AMALFI COAST AND THE SORRENTO PENINSULA
The most typical local Christmas dessert are Struffoli.
Each family has its own version. In any case, they are fried balls of aniseed liqueur dough, covered with honey, pieces of candied fruit and colored sugar.
Another popular dessert is Mustaccioli, hard puff pastry covered with chocolate.
The origin of their name is uncertain. Someone says that it comes from “mosto”, wine must. Others say that it comes from “mustache”, since their shapes recalls that of the mustache.
Susamielli are dry biscuits with almonds, honey, cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg. They have a specific “S” shape.
Also Roccocò are hard biscuits, prepared with toasted almonds, candied fruit and a special spice mix called Neapolitan pisto. People use to soften the biscuits by dipping them in vermouth, wine or marsala.
Christmas Zeppole, or Scauratelle, are similar to struffoli. A batter made with flour, oil and citrus peel is fried and covered with honey and colored sugars.
Finally, every Christmas lunch or dinner ends with nuts, dehydrated fruit, coffee and a glass of Limoncello, the local lemon-based liqueur.