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feast of the 7 fishes (and wine!)

For most people, Christmas is the big day and that’s when you have your feast. I don’t really know what they eat on Christmas Eve, but in our Italian family that’s our big night and we have the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes. In the past we didn’t always have seven, but in recent years we’ve revived the tradition and made sure we hit the number.

Why fish? That’s a thing where you’re not supposed to eat meat on big religious holidays. Why seven? No one knows for sure. My dad says it was because they wanted a fish from each of the seven seas. Others say it’s based on the seven days of creation, the seven sacraments, or even the seven hills of Rome (which aren’t even in southern Italy, where the fish tradition is mainly from). Whatever it’s based on, it’s delicious! Seriously, it’s my favorite meal of the entire year.

My dad used to have fish like scungilli (Italian sea snails), sardines, and eel on his table as a kid, but we’ve since appropriated some of the dishes for more modern (and kid) palates. Here’s how it panned out last

smoked tuna

smoked tuna on rice crackers

fried calamari (SOMEONE couldn’t keep their little hands away)

shrimp cocktail

shrimp cocktail

All the apps are served with bubbly around the tree! Last year we rocked some Dom, my favorite Champagne ever.

feast of seven fishes

Then we take it to the dinner table.

smoked salmon on arugula

smoked salmon on arugula

THE STAR OF THE NIGHT! Linguini with my mom's homemade lobster sauce.

THE STAR OF THE NIGHT! Linguini with my mom’s homemade lobster sauce.

We now pop some white. Usually we have a Puligny Montrachet because me and my Dad LOVE it. But last year we had some Catena Alta Chardonnay which is excellent. I love the lobster sauce and basically could just eat that all night, but we’ve got a few more fish to cover!

lobster (and some veggies)

lobster (and some veggies)

octopus ("polpo") salad with celery and lemon

octopus (“polpo”) salad with green olives, celery and lemon

To cap it all off, dessert with an awesome Late Harvest Riesling. We let my nephew have a taste and then he kept asking to have Riesling with dinner in January (!!!). That didn’t happen, much to his chagrin.

my homemade gingerbread cake and fresh whipped cream

my homemade gingerbread cake and fresh whipped cream

This year, I’m going all-Italian with the wines. Franciacorta to start, and we’ll see what I else I pull out of the vault! What do you eat – and more importantly – what do you drink on Christmas Eve?


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