When Dan and I started dating I knew nothing about Italian Christmas Eve dinner and the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”. I always assumed that people ate their special holiday meal on Christmas day and that was it. In my family we would never do anything special the night before because we were always wrapping presents in our pjs last minute, usually ordering pizza and hanging out like it was any other night. However, since I started dating Dan, our Christmas Eve dinner has become an event. We stuff our faces with seafood, bread, pasta, cookies, drink champagne, put on the Christmas music, open our presents, and maybe watch a Christmas themed movie. It’s become “our” Christmas. It may not be a formal sit down meal but it’s definitely special, and abso-bloody-lutely delicious.
This list is set up in the order that we would serve each course. Keep in mind, this is an all day affair and eating over an eight hour period, or twelve, is likely, complete with aperitifs and wine and conversing and cavorting between each course. It is a lot of food, so even if you settle for only 2 or 3 of these dishes you’ll be in for a special night, all six though? Fish heaven. And to be clear, we have six dishes for you today but they feature seven different types of seafood, so this beautiful meal totally qualifies as a feast of seven fishes.
Highland Mussels Juicy Whisky Creamy | Jamie Oliver – You’ll probably be pretty hungry when you start eating, but you have so many hours ahead of you that it’s important to have a nice base. That’s why we went with the mussels and scallops first, so you can sop up the yummy broth and butter with bread.
Scallops with Herbed Brown Butter (Photo by Gentl & Hyers, Recipe by Dawn Perry) | Bon Appetit – Dan would serve these first two courses simultaneously because they have complementary flavors and both would go down smooth with similar types of drink – like a dry Riesling or unoaked Chardonnay. No eggnog though.
Prawn Bisque | Gourmet Traveller – For a “second” course how bout a delicious, creamy prawn bisque which also goes wonderfully with whatever bread is left over. Cream soups are obviously decadent so I would wait an hour or so after this course before moving on.
Frozen Pickled Onion and Horseradish Mignonette | Bon Appetit – You could certainly start with the oysters as your first course but we thought they sounded like a good palette cleanser before moving on to the heavier yums. Pickled onion and horseradish mignonette sounds really refreshing.
Spicy Spaghetti Vongole | Jamie Oliver – Now that you understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint, let’s move on to the pasta course; a spicy seafood pasta with red sauce. For our Christmas Eve we generally do something with clams or crab in red sauce but the use of squid was unique addition to this list. By this point you should be feeling really good.
Grilled Lobster with Garlic-Parsley Butter (credit: Mark Roper) | SAVEUR – And now, on to the creme de la creme, the star of our show: grilled lobster with garlic parsley butter. Yummm. A general rule of Dan’s about Christmas Eve that I’ve absolutely adopted, is that the meal should end with either king crab legs or lobster. Go big or go home! You’ll be stuffed at this point but that lobster looks so beautiful and so drool worthy that you know you’ll find the space for a few buttery bites.