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TIP OF THE DAY: The Feast Of The Seven Fishes

You may have your own immutable traditions for Christmas Eve. But if you’d like to try something new, we recommend the Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian-American tradition.

This Christmas Eve dinner is celebrated with a feast of—you guessed it—seven different traditional fish dishes (although some ambitious families may go for eight, nine or more small courses, served individually or on a buffet).

The tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates back to medieval times, to the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat or milk products on Fridays and specific holy days. Fish, typically fried in oil, was most often served.

Thus, traditional dishes for The Feast Of The Seven Fishes include baccalà (salted cod fish), calamari and fried fish and seafood (oysters, scallops, shrimp, smelts). But we’ve updated the choices in our dinner menu. Design a menu of your own favorite dishes or follow ours:

  • Oyster shooters or oysters on the half shell (or shrimp skewers or crab cakes)
  • Seafood chowder

How about a hearty bouillabaisse for
Christmas Eve? Photo courtesy

  • Marinated seafood salad (calamari, octopus, shrimp, green and black olives, onion) over greens
  • Angel hair pasta with lobster in a tomato cream sauce
  • Squid ink pasta with scallops and red caviar
  • Your favorite salmon dish
  • Your favorite shrimp dish


You can also turn your dinner into a friends-and-family potluck.

You may enjoy The Feast Of The Seven Fishes so much that you’ll start collecting recipes in January for Christmas Eve 2011.


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