The Feast of the Seven Fishes

We all have family traditions, some that you've cherished for years, can't remember when they began, and are automatically a part of every celebration. Then there are the special things you might do one year because you read about another family's participation or felt inspired and you try it out on your group and they love it so you add it to the annual festivities. No surprise, our family's traditions usually have something to do with food!

A few years ago, our Christmas eve dinner became a seafood meal. We had some Italian-American friends that introduced us to the concept, rooted in Catholic tradition that involves fasting from red meat on major religious days as Christmas Eve leading into Christmas day is such. The Feast of the Seven Fishes came into being to allow for a meal that would abstain from meat and of course, seven is a big number in the church! 

So for a number of years, when we are fortunate to host our family or friends on Christmas Eve, I have attempted to serve SEVEN fish courses. Some years I have managed only 5 but last year was a winner...

Christmas Eve 2016

Smoked Salmon with crostini

Clam Chowder Shooters

Tuna Tartare with wonton crisps

Mini Crabcakes with Remoulade

King Crablegs

Endive & Goat Cheese Salad

Shrimp Scampi & Angel Hair Pasta

Seared Swordfish Steaks on Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Chocolate Cake Roll

For 2017, I am planning to scale it back a little (maybe 4 or 5 fishes) for several reasons: 1. the meal follows a church service which limits time to prep. 2. there will be only 5 people at the table, so why overdo it?  and 3. Christmas day dinner involves a complicated potato dish, a huge rib roast and a cream puff tower. Regardless, Christmas eve will be filled with laughter, spirits, fishy courses and family...I could not ask for more.

What are some of your family traditions for the holidays?