Easily the crème de la crème of any wedding menu, this whole salt-roasted branzino makes an exceptional main dish. The fish—fully intact—is encrusted in salt and whipped egg whites and roasted at 400 degrees. When served, you must crack the salt shell to get to the fish. For a side, Chef Phelix Gardner of Pago serves his salsa verde roasted turnips. Why it’s lucky: This meal is jam-packed with luck. Not only do fish scales represent coins, which are thought to bring you prosperity and wealth, but eating a fish whole—head-to-tail—is believed to bring you luck and abundance. To top off your lucky main dish, Ryan Wenger of Pago suggests pairing it with champagne or sparkling wine, which represent luck and prosperity.
Lord of the Rings
A fitting appetizer to include on your menu, this delectable dish is made up of sautéed calamari, smoked eggplant purée, blistered cherry tomatoes, sliced zucchini, and a sauce of olive oil and butter—all topped with fresh basil. Why it’s lucky: Food in the shape of rings, such as calamari, symbolizes coming full circle. For a complementary drink, try a lavender bee’s knees cocktail, made with Beehive gin, lavender simple syrup, fresh-squeezed lemon, and local honey, and garnished with a sprig of fresh lavender. In spring, lavender planted in your garden is believed to bring good fortune, so make room next to your other herbs for an aromatic good-luck charm that’s also a nod to your wedding day feast.
Seeds of Prosperity
Either as a main dish for vegetarian guests or a prelude to your whole salted branzino, this rich, sweet potato agnolotti is a perfect pairing of sweet and savory. The pasta was first stuffed with roasted sweet potatoes, house-made ricotta cheese, lemon, and nutmeg, then tossed in a sauce of browned butter, hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds, and pasta water. To top it off, Gardner sprinkled Parmesan and chives as a delicious and colorful garnish. Why it’s lucky: In Greece, pomegranate seeds are thought to bring good luck, abundance, and fertility. While you’re enjoying this dish, sip on a pomegranate margarita made of Vida tequila blanco, Cointreau orange liqueur, fresh-squeezed lime, pomegranate juice, and a lime wheel.
Fun Fact—On New Year’s Eve, people in some parts of Greece smash pomegranates on their doorsteps. The seeds scattered on the floor represent the amount of good luck to come the following year.