Just like fish in the sea, there are a number of different ways to celebrate the Feast of Seven Fishes. There are no hard and fast rules. Only rule that’s safe to say is seafood appetizers and main courses will be served alongside many glasses of wine. Each family celebrates differently, between the kind of fish, how they are prepared and even the number of courses.
Most families serve the traditional seven dishes or appetizers, and while we don’t know the true meaning behind the number seven it’s been said to symbolize the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. Others have said it represents the days of the week or the seven hills of Rome.
Some families choose 12 fish dishes over the traditional seven, paying tribute to the 12 disciples, while others serve five dishes and save two for palate cleansing and dessert. Here at Fish Fixe, we’re charting our own route for the feast this year, and have put together a modern take on a very old tradition.
What is the Feast of the Seven Fishes?
Let’s start where the Feast of Seven Fishes began. The tradition originated with the Roman Catholics refraining from eating meat and dairy the day before religious holidays, including Christmas. So what did they eat instead?
They pivoted towards the sea. In the early days (and there’s nothing conclusive about when the feast began), the Italians pulled out all the stops to celebrate the bountiful feast of the ocean. Baccalá, scungilli, mussels, calamari, and lobster are considered to be the first dishes of the Feast of Seven Fishes.
In the early 1900s, as Italians immigrated to the United States, the tradition was rekindled and Italian families once again started bringing a multi-course seafood dinner back to the table the night before Christmas. This is when the name Feast of the Seven Fishes was born.
To this day you’ll find many Italian-American families still honor their ancestors and their love for the sea by serving their family and friends a beautiful seafood dinner the night before Christmas. From appetizers to main dishes, the dinner usually lasts for hours and is treasured by all.
Fish Fixe Recipes for your Menu
You may find shrimp or lobster on the Fish Fixe Kitchen Feast of Seven Fishes menu, but you’ll find it with a modern twist, approachable twist. Because that’s what Fish Fixe is all about, right? So here it is, a seamless menu for you to set you up for a successful dinner that will leave even Santa scouring for leftovers.
- Jalapeño Shrimp Poppers
- Hot Crab and Artichoke Dip
- Shrimp Cocktail I Fish Fixe Kitchen
- Seared Scallops Recipe with Champagne Butter Sauce
- Caesar Salad with Anchovy Dressing by Once Upon a Chef