Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes

Just in case you're planning a multi-fish extravaganza for Christmas eve and are still trying to decide what to make, here are some ideas to whet your appetite. I've made all of these in years past, and most of them will be on my table again this year, including this spaghetti ai frutti di mare. It was a favorite last Christmas eve, so it makes the cut again for this year. I'll serve it following the hors d'oeuvres that will be mostly fished-based, except for a couple of dishes for the vegetarians present.  It's always a juggling act trying to balance the numerous  pots on the burners and dishes in the oven, so that none of them is overcooked (or undercooked.)
So I make sure I have a few things that can be made ahead of time, including this favorite of
baccalà mantecato with grilled polenta that we'll eat before dinner while sipping prosecco.
My dad arrives with these codfish cakes. They reheat very well in the oven, maintaining their crunchy exterior. We'll munch on these before dinner too.
If you think you don't like octopus, you haven't tried my Octopus and potato salad. It's almost like eating lobster, especially if you peel the octopus and trim away the "suction cups" after cooking. Get the largest octopus you can find in order to get nice chunky pieces.
If I weren't making the spaghetti ai frutti di mari, I might be making this dish with squid:
Some years, I've skipped the pasta and made this dish instead:
Seafood Risotto
But if there's one dish that absolutely must be on our Christmas eve table, it's this one. My son has taken over the preparation of this and has become quite adept at it:
Too many dishes with tomato sauce can make for a lopsided menu, but if stuffed squid's not your thing, make it easy on yourself and try this swordfish in tomato and caper sauce. 
Last year, I added this dish to the menu and everyone loved it. It can be made ahead of time and baked right before serving - swordfish involtini

And if you manage to have a taste of all these dishes, by the end of the evening, you might want to have this handy:


Buon Natale a tutti.


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17 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very dish looks mouthwatering.

Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2014!

Cheers,

Rosa

Chiara Giglio said...

Un menù veramente divino, mangerei tutto ! Passa un felice Natale cara Linda, un abbraccio !

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

What a wonderful sampling of delicious seafood dishes for Christmas eve. When my MIL was alive, she always baked the stuffed squid. Seeing it you your post brought back nice memories of her. :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

What a spread Linda, everything looks so scrumptious and I want them all especially the spaghetti frutti mare, oh and the risotto, and the calamari. Save me a seat at your table!
Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family! xox

Stacey Snacks said...

We are going to a Feast of Seven Fishes tomorrow night, so I will let you know! She is making stuffed "galamad"! :)

Merry Christmas!
Stacey

domenicacooks said...

LInda ~ I want all of those dishes on your menu, especially the spaghetti ai frutti di mare. Wishing you and your family a joyful Christmas and all the best in 2014, my friend. Un abbraccio!

Joan Nova said...

Wonderful array of dishes. Stuffed calamari is a traditional favorite here too. I really like your baccala mantecato dish with polenta toasts.

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014!

Faith said...

Goodness, we used to sing that Brioschi jingle as children, I think; we thought it was hilarious! It won't be needed with your lovely menu however!

AdriBarr said...

A feast indeed! I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!

bellini said...

I couldn't let another day go by without wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas. Eat lots and smile often. It is looking delicious around here at Ciao Chow Linda.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Lol,I love the Brioschi photo!

I went through many hoops to get Vinny baccala this year...living in a landlocked state makes the Feast of the Seven Fishes hard to accomplish.
Y
Buon Natale to you and your family, Linda!

daniela64 said...

Un menù favoloso! Tanti auguri di buon Natale a te e a tutta la tua famiglia. Daniela.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Everything looks so delicious I can't imagine anyone needing a stomach settler afterward :)

Merry Christmas, Linda, and a very Happy New Year!

Linda said...

Merry Christmas Linda...and a happy and healthy New Year!

Frank Fariello said...

What a feast! Unfortunately, the younger generation in my family is fish-phobic, so we had to content ourselves with a simple pasta followed by crab cakes (in which they did not partake!) What is it about young people today?

Claudia said...

Baccala does not exist here. (Feel sorry for me.) Christmas Eve is Grandpa's birthday and the only fish I'm allowed to serve to the Midwesterners is Oyster Stew (tradition). Thinking there may be a Feast of 7 Fishes for a New Year celebration... All looks beautiful. Merry Christmas! Here's hoping for a magical 2014. (And warmer in MN than 2013.)

Chocolate Shavings said...

That first seafood pasta dish looks so good -- totally up my alley!