7 Celebratory Dishes for the Feast of the Seven Fishes
This year for my family’s Christmas Eve meal, I’ve decided to serve a Feast of the Seven Fishes. This traditional Italian-American celebration was initially a catholic fast of meat consumption. Today, it’s simply an excuse to eat a luxurious meal that features seven different fish preparations on Christmas Eve. Every type of fish–baccala, clams, shrimp, octopus, smelt, anchovies, cod, scallops, etc.—are invited to the table. Since it is a holiday, be creative and go big when you’re planning the menu. If you’ve always wanted to try frying calamari or shucking oysters, now is your chance! To inspire you to experiment with festive seafood dishes this Christmas Eve, I’m sharing seven recipes that I’m contemplating serving on my menu. Here are some fantastic fish courses for you to consider.
This year, West Coasters are in despair because the Dungeness crab season was cancelled. Since we can’t get fresh crab, I’ll use canned crab to make a rich cheesy hot crab dip. It pairs perfectly with Champagne or icy cold martinis.
In this recipe for linguine with red clam sauce, the clams are cooked in a hearty and quick homemade tomato sauce. To give it a more rich clam flavor, add a can of chopped clams and their juices to the sauce before adding the shells. If you have time, channel your inner Italian grandmother and make fresh pasta!
Coating beef steak in coarsely crushed black peppercorns is a classic preparation that inspired this recipe for black pepper halibut steaks with roasted tomatoes. If you can’t find halibut, be sure to use a meaty fish that will stand up to the spiciness of the pepper.
Although it’s a French dish, Dover sole a la Meunière is a crowd-pleaser and worthy of your holiday table. Who wouldn’t want to have light and flaky melt-in-your-mouth pan-fried white fish? To give this recipe a little kick, add a tablespoon of capers to the sauce.
Serve this buttery garlicky shrimp scampi as a first course with a light green salad and lots of crusty sourdough bread. The fragrant, finger-licking good sauce is a mixture of the usual suspects: butter, garlic, white wine, lemon juice, and parsley. Delish!
For the main course, whole grilled fish with fresh lemon wedges is a simple, but elegant show-stopper. If it’s snowing outside, use a grill pan to cook the fish inside or simply roast the fish in the oven instead.
Linguine with clams is one of my all time favorite Italian pasta dishes. This recipe adds leeks and fennels to the sauce, giving it a mild onion and slight licorice flavor. If you’re not into fennel, use shallot instead.
Shop tools to make pasta and serve shellfish below.
Have you ever enjoyed a feast of the seven fishes? What was on your menu?