Christmas Eve Dinner: Feast of the Seven Fishes

It's here! Today is Christmas Eve, and tonight will be a feast. 

It being our first holiday season here in Pittsburgh, Husband and I wanted to start some new traditions of our own. My very favorite Natalie gave me this idea around Thanksgiving when she told me her family chose to do different versions of holiday meals, to switch things up from turkey and dressing. Don't get me wrong - we all love those traditional foods, but why not try an Italian Christmas dinner on for size? So, that's exactly what we're doing! 

Traditionally, some Italian families cook up a storm, and make the Feast of the Seven Fishes. (Fish for Christmas - YES!) A most trusted and useful online resource says, "The Feast of the Seven Fishes (festa dei sette pesci), celebrated on Christmas Eve, also known as The Vigil (La Vigilia), is believed to have originated in Southern Italy and is not a known tradition in many parts of Italy. Today, it is a feast that typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. However, some Italian American families have been known to celebrate with 9, 11, or 13 different seafood dishes. This celebration commemorates the wait, Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus." Since we are surrounded by Bloomfield, the Little Italy here in Pittsburgh, we had plenty of markets to grab our precious ingredients. 

Since Husband and I are only two people, I've chosen to only make three dishes. (We can only eat leftovers for so long!) My menu consists of (forgive my stock photos!):

Fritto Misto Calamari 
(via clintonhillfoodie.com)
I plan to use this recipe or this recipe, both from incredible Italian-style chefs. 

Baccala alla Veneta
(via manusmenu.com)
Because he's the Master Italian Iron Chef, I'm definitely using Mario Batali's Baccala alla Veneta recipe

Pasta Bolongese, because Husband needed his pasta and meat dish!
(via thebutchersdaughter.net)
I'm using Anne Burrell's Pasta Bolognese recipe, mainly because I adore her and her style and cooking knowledge. She's a complete rockstar chef.
So, in total, I'm serving three 'fishes': squid, baccala and anchovies. Yum! I'll be sure to take lots of photos from my dishes to show later. 

Tomorrow, Husband is taking over cooking duties, and making me a dish we've only had once. In February of this year we were snowed in. In Texas, when it snows, EVERYTHING shuts down. We took this to our advantage, and went on a field trip to the wine store close to our apartment. We purchased a Chianti, and went home to make Ina Garten's Filet of Beef Bourguignon. After just a short time, we had a glorious snow day meal. Husband is going to reenact that for us on Christmas day. I can't wait!

What are your plans for your holiday dishes?


  1. That sounds so cozy and wonderful! I have been sick this week, but yesterday we made it to Sherman and saw both families. Today, I am staying home with my antibiotics and Tylonol. :)

    A very Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope you have a wonderful holiday. <3

  2. @Michelle I'm glad you got to see you families, though! I hope you're feeling better and had a good holiday.


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