Some cook seven courses; some just put seven types of seafood in a stew and call it a feast. Many families abide by their own traditions, but all Italian-Americans can agree that seafood is a part of Christmas Eve.
The ancient tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve dates back to the Roman Catholic belief to abstain from meat and dairy products on Christmas Eve, while the number seven has roots in Catholic symbolism, giving way to our favorite salty feast of the holiday season. This Christmas Eve, host your own Feast of the Seven Fishes and celebrate in true Italian-American style with Bona Furtuna. Here are Bona Furtuna's tricks to a tip-top fishy celebration.
FIRST COURSE: SOMETHING SNACKY
The first meal of six, it is important to keep it light and fresh to not spoil your appetite. Our favorite first course is a dip, something guests can nibble on before taking a seat for the commencement of the feast. Try salted cod dip with grilled crostini, a lemony salmon and cream cheese spread, or a cold and refreshing ceviche to tickle your appetite and commence the night’s festivities.
SECOND COURSE: A LIGHT SALAD
In a feast full of seafood, it’s nice to sneak vegetables in when you can. There are so many options for a seafood-based salad, from a crab and apple salad with Caesar vinaigrette, to a spinach and smoked salmon salad. For a refreshingly crunchy, smooth and flavorful bite, try our craved shrimp and avocado salad.
THIRD COURSE: A GRILLED, MEATY MUNCH
Grilled lobster tail, charred octopus, a salted shrimp skewer, or swordfish filet? Find what’s available locally and contrast the shoulder courses with a hot, hearty, and meaty bite. Our personal favorite? Swordfish Rolls sprinkled with a dusting of fennel pollen.
FOURTH COURSE: ANCIENT GRAIN PASTA
Consider this course to be your bread and butter. Choose a spicy tomato-based sauce with spaghetti and lobster, find creamy comfort with a bowl of busiate with anchovy butter and broccoli rabe, or channel your inner Italian with Spaghetti (or Linguine) alla Vongole.
FIFTH COURSE: SEAFOOD STEW
Your belly is filling, but embrace the opportunity to warm up with a smoky seafood stew. In this pot, beans and chorizo simmer in a rich, smoky tomato broth amongst white fish and mussels for a hearty and salty bowl from heaven.
SIXTH COURSE: A PALATE CLEANSER
It’s now time to kick back and enjoy the sweeter things in life. In preparation for the feast finale, cleanse your palate with a refreshingly cold, creamy and tart lemon gelato.
FINALE: A TRADITIONAL ITALIAN DESSERT
The end is here. Finish your Feast of the Seven Fishes with something sweet; strawberry panna cotta, a platter of whipped cannoli or the traditional, yet sensational tiramisu.
And of course, always prepare with abundant bottles of wine.