The traditional dinner served up in millions of Italian households decade after decade is hands down my favorite meal of the year. The Christmas Eve feast of the seven fishes is one I remember fondly, and have many childhood memories floating around in my brain from those special nights. Smells that filled my nose even now make my mouth water as I write these words.
Every family puts their own spin on the meal, but the basic elements are the same and the 7 to 9 fishes are served in various ways.
Pan-fried and salted smelts or monkfish is usually the first of the fish to be served. I can remember being at my late Uncle Fred’s house and him walking around with a glass bowl as family dipped their hands in and took out the smelts.
Now we have the 7 fish feast at my cousin Kate and Eric’s house and it’s a meal I look forward to every year. We begin in the same tradition as we did at her dad’s house.
7 Fish Course Line-up
First up are the fried smelts, followed by some chilled medium-sized shrimp accompanied with some cocktail sauce. Then there’s the crab dip and clam dip which are delicious. Next, we get a round of jumbo fried shrimp and fried or stuffed calamari. Last year I remember me and Eric out in the garage using his mini fryer and seasoning up the flour just right. Clams casino follows, they are a fan favorite. Clams with a mixture of peppers and onions in a rue topped with bacon, the flavors are out of this world.
After the appetizer rounds, we go into the main dishes. Crabcakes come next, they are seasoned and broiled to perfection. Last but not least we have the whole fish and this one varies year to year. One year its a whole Red Snapper, or it could be Seabass regardless of the fish it is always delicious.
Eight more days until this family tradition will be celebrated again and I can’t wait. Enjoy these mouth-watering pictures of some examples of the 7 fish feast and let us know if any of you have this tradition in your home as well.
7 Fish Feast In Pictures Are You Hungry Yet?
(Cover photo courtesy of Taste of Home, 2nd photo Pinterest, 3rd photo Saveur, videos courtesy of YouTube and Belmont Market)