You don’t have to be of Italian descent to create the traditional Feast Of The Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.
We do it every year as a co-op event: Seven of us prepare the seven fish/seafood dishes, and the eighth makes dessert. (Note: With seven courses, the portions are smaller.)
If you’re having a “regular” Christmas Eve party, set out the Feast Of The Seven Fishes as a buffet.
We live near a good Italian bakery and can pick up stirato, the Italian bread closest to a baguette; but you can bake it yourself.
Or buy baguettes!
It’s a splendid feast, with opera playing in the background (or Christmas carols or Il Volo, if you prefer).
For menu suggestions and a backgrounder on the holiday, check out our:
As we sit around the sofa with bottles of wine, warming up for the main meal, we’re having a bread and butter with anchovies, inspired by the Tuscan grandmother of food writer Giulia Scarpaleggia. Nonna Menna added capers as well.
“Just use quality ingredients,” says Giulia, “because there are no tricks nor deceits!” You can even…
Butter. Our go-to butters are from Cabot’s and Vermont Creamery, but we’ll add Kerrygold, Organic Valley and Plugrá. If we had more capacity, we’d test Breakstone and Land o’ Lakes as well.
Anchovies. We are happy with Cento, an inexpensive brand available at supermarkets, Trader Joe’s and elsewhere. We can also find Ortiz and Roland in our neighborhood, and are ordering some fancy brands online. (There are no fresh anchovies in our markets now.)
Capers. Instead of Nonna’s capers, we’re using pimiento, a wonderful pairing with anchovies, with a garnish of chopped parsley. If we have time, we’ll add some lemon zest and garlic, or gremolata.
The recipe is a no-brainer, but here’s how we’re serving it:
Place all the ingredients on the table and let people butter and top their own.
Frutti di mare literally means “fruits of the sea” and can include all types of seafood, including mussels, clams, prawns and other shellfish.
It can be served in different ways: crudo (raw), fried and sautéed, for example.
Sautéed, it is often used to top bucatini, linguine or spaghetti.
For a first course, gather your favorite seafood and:
HOW CUTTLEFISH ARE DIFFERENT FROM SQUID
They’re different from calamari, too.
Frutti di mare, mixed seafood, can be served in many ways.  Marinated, at All’ Onda | NYC).  With pasta; here’s the recipe from InPerugia.com.