Feast of Seven Fishes | Traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve Dinner

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a seafood extravaganza and for many Italian-American’s it is a cherished Christmas Eve tradition.  If you are looking for a fun, new tradition or  something different for your Christmas Eve meal, give this seafood filled seven fishes feast a try  — It’s a great way to celebrate Christmas Eve with family and friends.

Learn how to easily make the Feast of Seven Fishes at home.

Feast of Seven Fishes | Traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve Dinner

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a seafood extravaganza and for many Italian-American’s it is a cherished Christmas Eve tradition.  If you are looking for a fun, new tradition or  something different for your Christmas Eve meal, give this seafood filled seven fishes feast a try  — It’s a great way to celebrate Christmas Eve with family and friends.

Learn how to easily make the Feast of Seven Fishes at home.

Celebrate Christmas Eve with a Fun and Festive Feast of Seven Fishes Seafood extravaganza.

EASY FEAST OF SEVEN FISHES CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER MENU

How to Prepare the Italian-American  Christmas Eve

Feast of Seven Fishes

Easy Seafood Recipes for the Feast of Seven Fishes
Christmas Eve Celebration.

Feast of Seven Fishes Italian-American Christmas Eve Tradition

The “Italian” Feast of Seven Fishes is actually an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition.  It is simply a meal consisting of seven or more preparations of seafood.

This Italian-American tradition came from the Italian Catholic tradition of observing a “fast” (no meat) on Christmas Eve and serving a light meatless meal consisting of soups, salads, meatless antipasto, pasta, and seafood dishes.

Just like every region of Italy has their own food traditions and specialties — every family celebrates the Feast of Seven Fishes a little differently.

My husband and I both grew up celebrating Christmas Eve following the Feast of Seven Fishes tradition.  

My husband’s family is from South Philly and both set of Grandparents were Italian immigrants.  They followed a more traditional Feast of Seven Fishes menu and served in courses.  

My family, being Irish and Italian, celebrated the Christmas Eve Feast a little more loosely and would invite family, friends, and neighbors in for a light meatless meal of salads, pasta and of course some seafood and served everything at once family style.

I’ve kept the tradition of cooking a Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve alive but now we celebrate with our family favorite recipes, including Crab and Spaghetti and Thai mussels.

Traditional Italian-American

Feast of Seven Fishes

Christmas Eve

 

South Philly Feast of Seven Fishes

Both of my husband grandparents immigrated from Italy to an Italian neighborhood of South Philadelphia. They served a more traditional South Philly Italian Feast of Seven Fishes menu that included fresh seafood from the Italian Market (one of my favorite places in the entire world!) and some of the traditional foods and ingredients from Italy.  Here’s the menu my husband grew up with:

  • Baccalà — a dry salted cod that is a staple feast fish.
  • Sardines
  • Fried Shrimp
  • Fried Smelts
  • Salad
  • Fresh rolls and Bread from Cacia’s Bakery
  • Fresh crabs that they would buy live at the market.  The fresh crabs would be cooked in a traditional red gravy (sauce).
  • Whole Baked Fish – from the Italian Market
  • Cannolis from Isgro’s
  • + Fresh raw finocchio slices, that’s Italian for fennel.

So, follow my suggestions for a Feast of Seven Fishes or create your own using your family’s favorite seafood and meatless dishes.

Serving Suggestions & Wine Pairing for the Feast of Seven Fishes

 

This menu can be served in courses or served family style with everything placed on the table at the same time.

I serve a hot crab dip first while everyone gathers with a few (or More) bottles of good Italian wine while the rest of the meal is being finished.

For this feast I like to serve both white and red wine for this dinner to compliment all the different flavors and family preferences.  For the red wine try serving a nice Chianti or Pinot Noir and try a crisp Italian white table wine with a hint of sweetness like a dry Traminer blend or an Italian Chardonnay or try a lesser know varietal like  Asti, Gavi, Soave, Verdiccio, or Frascati.

Then I serve everything else family style.  It’s fun way to celebrate Christmas Eve.

Contemporary and International

Feast of Seven Fishes Menu

Appetizers and Crudites

Salads and Vegetables

Simple Green Salad with Shaved Fennel

 

Feast of Seven Fishes Menu Ideas

Choose your favorite 7 fish and shellfish dishes, serve with a pasta, fresh bread, a simple salad and a traditional Italian dessert.

 

More Feast of Seven Fishes Recipe(…

Sweet luscious crab meat served with a spicy remoulade sauce.  

So easy to make and so good.  This makes an easy appetizer to feed a hungry crowd.  Serve plenty of crusty bread alongside to soak up all the yummy sauce.

Red snapper may be my favorite local fish since I can get it fresh most of the time.  I love how this fish works in so many different preparations and flavor combinations.  This easy grilled red snapper recipe with citrus and Asian spices and is ready in less than 30 minutes and uses just a few ingredients.  

Crab Stuffed Halibut with Pears & Brie is a super easy recipe to make. Perfect for a special occasion meal and easy enough for a weeknight meal.  The richness of the crab and the creaminess of the brie compliment the delicate flavor of the halibut perfectly.

This is the best-ever easy shrimp dip. This is the perfect party or potluck appetizer. Served with fresh vegetables or assorted pieces of bread and crackers.

My absolute favorite.  It’s perfect to compliment the spicy jerk turkey, is low calorie and a festive blush color.  Perfection!

 

 

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