Feast of the Seven Fishes – Recipes for Christmas Celebrations

Shrimp Mussels and Clams with Fettuccine Feast of the Seven Fishes Hungry Goddess

Christmas Eve in South Florida and in my family is all about the seafood since we celebrate the Feast of Seven Fishes every year.  Each year the family comes together with varied dishes: seafood salad is in the works, scungilli, roasted peppers with anchovies, clam gazpacho, cioppino (sometimes paella), scallops with fennel and blood oranges, ceviche, whitefish dip, and my second annual contribution –  Crab Cakes with Aioli (although I am making them mini!).

Feast of the Seven Fishes is a tradition from Southern Italian that is maintained by Italian-American families across the country.  It is also known as The Vigil (La Vigilia) and is a commemoration of the wait, Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus.  As Mario Batali explains:

“It’s what Italians do when they say they’re fasting.” More precisely, the Feast is a meal served in Italian households on La Vigilia (Christmas Eve). In many parts of Italy, the night is traditionally a partial fast, during which no meat should be served. But in true Italian style, this proscription has morphed into something very unfastlike indeed: course after course of luxurious seafood dishes, often as many as 7, 10, or even 13. “No one’s quite sure of the significance of the number,” says Batali. “Some families do seven for the sacraments. Some do ten for the stations of the cross. And some even do 13 for the 12 apostles plus Jesus.”

We have done Seven Fishes for the years that we have been in South Florida and Christmas Eve becomes an oceanic feast!

Looking for something different than a roast dinner?  Change it up and celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes … I am sure I have just the recipe to tempt you into a NEW tradition!

Buon Natale!

Hungry Goddess Family Recipes:

Conch Ceviche

Spicy Mustard Crab Cakes with Lemon Garlic Aioli

My Mom’s Mussels Marinara 

Mom’s Cioppino 


Paella Mixta with Spanish Style Sardines, Chorizo, Shrimp, and Chicken 

Pasta with White Clam Sauce 

Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Sriracha Dipping Sauce

Thai Green Papaya and Mango Salad with Sardines

Blackened Catfish and Grits 

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Hash with Jalapeno Sardines

Grilled Swordfish with Spicy Cherry Salsa

Lemon Tarragon Salmon with Greek Yogurt Dressing

Potato Parsnip Pancakes with Smoked Salmon

Almond Crusted Salmon with Black Rice and Fruit Salsa

Miso and Honey Glazed Verlasso Salmon

Mock Snapper Turtle Soup

Chilean Sea Bass with Orange Sauce

Tarragon Lobster Salad


Poached Cod in Spring Vegetable Broth


Other Traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes Recipes

Poached Baccala Salad

Creamy Seafood Risotto

Stuffed Calamari

Clams with Oregano and Bread Crumbs

Marinated Fresh Anchovies

Feast of the Seven Fishes from The Hungry Goddess

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