Tag Archives: Feast of the Seven Fishes

Top five sustainable seafood picks for Christmas

If there was a holiday dedicated to celebrating seafood, I’d think it would be Christmas.

This is not based on a scientific study, or a Facebook poll, but rather conjecture on my part.

The Italians got it right centuries ago. Every Christmas Eve they celebrate Feast of the Seven Fishes. Just a thought here, if are any Italians that want to adopt Elvis and me this year, or heck, even 2014, shoot me an email.

Feast of the Seven Fishes is an unparalleled seafood cooking adventure, even for someone who drives a hundred miles for a three-pound Copper River salmon filet. I  mean, seven seafood courses? In one evening meal? For two?

I’ll bet that’s not happening in your family either. If it is, see above. We’re willing to travel.

I think most people want an easy, relaxed, spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, Christmas. Except for the Italians.

After all the stress and calories from Thanksgiving, wouldn’t seafood be the perfect choice for Christmas dinner?

So I started thinking about a few of the more traditional, easy-to-prepare, seafood dishes I like.

Here are my top five sustainable seafood picks for Christmas:

  1. Steamed King Crab with drawn butter
  2. Smoked Salmon with a crusty baguette and a soft, creamy cheese
  3. Steamed Black Mussels with Leeks & Chives
  4. Baked Blue Crab & Artichoke Dip
  5. Lobster tail, any old way
What about you? Will you be serving sustainable seafood this Christmas?

Need a few more seafood recipes? Enter my Sustainable Seafood Gift-Pack giveaway for a chance to win Barton Seaver’s, For Cod and Country seafood cookbook, two aprons and a sustainable seafood guide.

Crab & Artichoke Dip recipe

Last year, I’d originally made this dip as a topping* for salmon. But last month, during Thanksgiving, I was craving a warm, savory, cheesy crab dip.

I rewrote the recipe, and substituted the marinated artichokes for artichokes in water, and increased the cooking time.

What I love most about this recipe redux is the photo I took out on the back patio. I didn’t realize I’d captured a reflection on the wine glass.

Cheers to my beautiful woods and trees and to this perfect seafood staple for the holidays, or anytime you have a half a pound of crab meat and don’t know what to do with it.

Crab and Artichoke Dip with Parmesan Cheese


  • 1 small jar or can artichokes in water, drained and sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese (reserve a little for topping)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 pound crab meat, (any variety), drained
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped



  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl mix, mix artichokes, mayonnaise and cheese. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Add crab to mix, careful not to break up crab too much.
  • Add red pepper and stir just to mix evenly. Again, be careful not to break up the crab.
  • Place mixture in a shallow oven-proof baking dish and top with reserved Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake 30 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned.
  • Serve immediately.

*If you’d like to use this recipe as a topping for salmon, grouper, snapper or halibut, make the recipe as instructed, but do not bake in a shallow dish. Instead, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and pat dry the fish. Season fish with kosher salt and pepper. Mound crab mixture evenly on top of fish, about two tablespoons. Place fish in a shallow baking dish, and bake 30-35 minutes uncovered, or based on fish thickness (Cook fish 10 minutes per inch, add 5-7 minutes per topping).

Christmas Eve Seven Fishes Dinner

The Feast of the Seven Fishes!
Image by Austin Kleonvia Flickr

If Feast of the Seven Fishes has your head swimming, then this post is meant for you.

With all of the things going on at Christmas time, tree trimming, shopping, gift wrapping, mailing gifts, and planning meals, how in the world do you incorporate fish into your family tradition by making a meal called Feast of the Seven Fishes? 

As with many things in life, it’s easier to simplify things and pare down any expectations you have for making this meal. First, what is Feast of  the Seven Fishes? There are several interpretations regarding tradition and symbolism, there are festivals, there are countless recipes and mostly there are a lot of  people enjoying fabulous seafood on Christmas Eve. (I’m not going to discuss all of these things here-see the above link for reference.) But I will say that Feast of the Seven Fishes really is about seven fishes for dinner, the more popular species being baccala, Italian for salt cod.

If you’re feeling a little squeamish about salt cod, no worries, there are several other species of seafood to work with; think lobster, calamari and oysters to mention a few. Remember, you’re trying to add a little more seafood into your diet, not enter a contest with your neighbor who’s from Southern Italy and speaks in a language that resembles your brother when he’s drunk with a mouth full of marbles. Oh wait, that’s my brother.  

Second, let’s just think about having one fish species and call it Feast of The First Christmas Eve I made Fish for Dinner.

The easiest way to add one seafood item into your diet this Christmas Eve? Buy clams (fresh or frozen, both work well) and make your favorite red sauce (no meat please). Five minutes before you’re ready to eat, add the clams  to the sauce, cover tightly and steam. Check at three minutes, if partially open, recover and steam another minute. Discard any clams that haven’t opened. Serve immediately with your favorite pasta, garlic bread and Italian red wine. Enjoy and have fun.

Merry Christmas and Eat More Seafood.

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