The holidays are a special time for families to come together and celebrate one another in the context of their specific cultures or traditions. The concept of Christmas as a holiday is celebrated in many different ways in different contexts throughout the world and different subcultures.
Food is often one of the most central components to holiday celebrations, bringing people together in a comforting joy. In many cultures, fish specifically, takes the spotlight of many holiday dishes. The Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition, consists of a feast of either seven different fish dishes or one or two types of fish prepared in seven varying ways.
Origin of the Feast of the Seven Fishes
Although not necessarily considered an Italian tradition, but rather an Italian-American tradition as the Feast of the Seven Fishes is typically used as an homage to “the home country.” Centered around fish, an ode to the commonly shared sea between Italy and America, the feast is known in Italy as La Viglia.
There is no significant religious aspect associated with the feast, unless families so choose to incorporate it.
Now to the best part of the Feast of the Seven Fishes- the feast! Preparing and eating fish seven different ways may seem like a lot, but you’ll be surprised at how tasty and well paired all the meals come together in a cohesive feast. Keep reading for our best fish recipe recommendations on how to host the tastiest feast of seven fishes possible.
Shrimp Cocktail: You can’t go wrong with a classic shrimp cocktail and it’s by far the easiest dish to prepare. Just make sure you are purchasing high-quality shrimp from a trusted market and your guests won’t be able to keep their hands off.
Crab Rangoons: One of the best parts about combining seven different seafood based dishes is the ability to sample from different cultures.
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs: Take this classic party dish up a notch by including bits of delicious smoked salmon in the creamy filling.
Squid and Fennel Pasta with Lemon and Herbs: Squid is a seafood delicacy saved for only the best occasions. Combining this tasty fare with a delicious lemon and herb pasta will result in a hearty and warm meal that still carries a light taste that will compliment the other dishes.
Crispy Gnocchi with Littleneck Clams: A perfect combination of classic Italian gnocchi and clams, the texture of each will compliment each other and not be too heavy, allowing for guests to enjoy all seven dishes.
Spicy Rhode Island Calamari: No feast is complete without a hearty serving of fried food. Little seafood dishes compare to the addicting deliciousness that encompasses spicy fried calamari, the perfect pièce de résistance to add to your feast.
Classic Panettone: No Italian holiday feast is complete without a delicious panettone, serve warm with coffee to really round out the authenticity of your Italian feast. Buon appetito!