Cook the Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve Dinner
Every family has unique holiday traditions and their own take on widely shared traditions like The Feast of Seven Fishes. This Christmas Eve dinner tradition is practiced in many Italian and Italian-American homes. It’s also known as Festa dei Sette Pesci or La Vigilia. It is believed that the 7 fish are meant to represent the 7 days of Creator or 7 sacraments. But some households prepare up to 12 kinds of seafood to represent the 12 apostles. Many families don’t even prepare a strict number of fish dishes. Most Italians agree that the spirit of the feast is more important than how many types of fish you serve.
It is widely agreed that the Feast of the Seven Fishes is made up of seven courses: appetizers, salads, entrees, pasta, stews, palette cleansers, and dessert. Planning out your menu early is crucial to making this feast. Seafood often sells out around the holidays. So if you want the best selection of white fish, mussels, clams, shrimp, lobster, and other kinds of seafood, be sure to order them before Christmas Eve.
We have rounded up a list of our favorite seafood dishes for this holiday feast to help you plan your menu. If this is your first year making the Feast of Seven Fishes, be sure to ask your friends and family what some of their favorite seafood dishes are for the holidays. So much of what makes the holidays special is the memories evoked by the food we prepare and share together.
First Course: Seafood Appetizers
Tease your tastebuds with bites of crispy fried Rhode Island Calamari, Buttery Clams Casino, or other popular seafood appetizers.
Second Course: Light Seafood Salad
Cleanse your palate and save room for hearty entrées by following appetizers with a light, citrusy salad like Insalata di Mare, a ceviche-like Italian seafood salad, or Bon Appetit’s Pan-Seared Squid with Lemony Aioli and Greens salad.
Third Course: Hearty Fish Entrees
Dig into a tantalizing, hearty entrée like Baked Stuffed Cod, Balsamic-Glazed Salmon with Spinach, Olives, and Golden Raisins, or Mussels with Spicy Tomato Oil and Grilled Bread.
Fourth Course: Seafood Pasta
No Italian meal would be complete without pasta dishes. Serve up a seafood pasta tossed in a red sauce like Rock Shrimp Pasta with Spicy Tomato Sauce, or a thin white sauce like Clam Pasta With Garlic and White Wine.
Fifth Course: Fish Stew
If you still have room in your stomach, dig into a savory seafood stew like this Easy Oyster Stew, or this Crock Pot Fishermans Stew (Cioppino).
Sixth Course: Palate Cleanser
While you let your food digest before dessert, clear your palate with a citrusy drink like this Sicilian Lemon Frost or Limoncello Gelato.
Seventh Course: Dessert
A feast wouldn’t be complete without dessert. Classic Italian desserts like Rainbow Cookies or 5-Ingredient Cannoli are a perfect finale.
We hope this inspires you to cook a fantastic Feast of Seven Fishes this Christmas Eve. Remember to stop by City Fish Market on Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield, Connecticut, early to order fish and shellfish for your holiday dinner. Our retail counter will close at 3 pm on Christmas Eve.