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A Christmas Eve Tradition
In many Italian-American households, Christmas Eve is celebrated with the Feast of the Seven Fishes. While a tradition, there aren’t really hard and fast rules about the type of fish or number of courses served. Many families break up the feast into several rounds of appetizers and mains, while others make a seafood-filled stew or pasta (like this dish!) and call it a day. It’s truly a personal preference. To help you create your own menu, we’re sharing some of our favorite recipes featuring cod, lobster and more.
Get the Recipe:7 Fishes Fra Diavolo Pasta
Roasted Oysters with Garlic-Parsely Butter
Don’t be intimated by oysters! To safely shuck them, Marc Murphy uses a kitchen towel and an oyster shucking knife. He then places the oysters on top of baguette slices, adds a dollop of garlic-parsely butter and roasts until everything is sizzling.
Get the Recipe:Roasted Oysters with Garlic-Parsley Butter
Orecchiette with Clams, Sausage and Peppers
Combine two Italian-inspired family favorites — sausage and peppers plus pasta with clams — into one delicious entree. (P.S. This is also a solid 20-minute dinner to add to your weekly rotation).
Get the Recipe:Orecchiette with Clams, Sausage and Peppers
Giada’s crispy risotto balls are a true crowd-pleaser. To make life easier, you can make the risotto and assemble the balls a day in advance, then take them out of the fridge and fry right as guests arrive.
Get the Recipe:Crab Arancini
Grilled Seafood Salad
If you’re celebrating Christmas Eve in a warmer climate, consider this your excuse to get outside and fire up the grill.
Get the Recipe:Grilled Seafood Salad
Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
For an effortless way to get some extra shellfish into the menu, serve up some shrimp cocktail. With over 400 5-star reviews, you know Ina’s recipe will not steer you wrong.
Get the Recipe:Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
Linguine with Red Clam Sauce
Though Spaghetti Alle Vongole is traditionally made with white wine and garlic, this twist is ideal for anyone who loves marinara.
Get the Recipe:Linguine with Red Clam Sauce
You can easily pack a variety of proteins into this San Franciscan tomato-based seafood stew — including clams, mussels, shrimp, salmon and halibut. With over 280 5-star reviews, Giada’s is a fan-favorite.
Get the Recipe:Cioppino
Perfect Lobster Tail
Would a seafood celebration be complete without lobster? We tried lobster tails every which way — steamed, baked, grilled, broiled, you name it — and discovered that broiling is 100% the way to go.
Get the Recipe:Perfect Lobster Tails
Lobster Mac and Cheese
This may be too decadent to include in a seven course spread, but Ina’s recipe for restaurant-quality lobster macaroni and cheese is just so good we had to include it.
Get the Recipe:Lobster Mac and Cheese
Crab-and-Cheese-Stuffed Mini Peppers
Stuff crunchy mini peppers with sweet crab and flavored cream cheese for a poppable appetizer that’s sure to be a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Get the Recipe:Crab-and-Cheese-Stuffed Mini Peppers
Pasta Alle Vongole
Clams are the star of this iconic Italian dish. Ready in just 25 minutes, Valerie Bertinelli’s version yields two small servings, but is simple enough to double or triple as needed.
Get the Recipe:Pasta Alle Vongole
White Clam Pizza
Take a cue from pizzerias in Connecticut and top pizza dough with mozzarella, Parmesan and chopped clams. Slice the pizza into 16 or 32 smaller pieces to serve as an appetizer.
Get the Recipe:White Clam Pizza
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
For a more cost-effective take on the popular pasta dish, Lobster Fra Diavolo, swap out the lobster for shrimp.
Get the Recipe:Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Fried Calamari with Fried Lemons and Lemon Aioli
You really can’t go wrong with fried calamari, but there are certain techniques you have to master in order to get it right, starting with soaking the calamari in milk or buttermilk. Marc Murphy explains, “It helps break down the calamari so it makes it more tender and it also helps the flour to adhere to it when you’re going to fry it.”
Get the Recipe:Fried Calamari with Fried Lemons and Lemon Aioli
The Best Baked Salmon
With a 5-star rating and over 480 reviews, our baked salmon is one of our most popular recipes of all time and a solid addition to your holiday menu. We top the fish with a mixture of panko, spices, parsley and butter before baking, so it tastes absolutely delicious when it comes out of the oven. Double or triple the recipe depending on your expected guest count.
Get the Recipe:The Best Baked Salmon
Bucatini with Clams and Scallops
Looking for a lighter pasta to add to the rotation? We’ve got you covered with this bright and lemony pasta dish. Because this recipe calls for canned baby clams and frozen bay scallops, you can even just buy the pantry ingredients so you have a back-up option. Just enjoy this 25-minute main for dinner another night if you don’t make it Christmas Eve!
Get the Recipe:Bucatini with Clams and Scallops
“Fritto misto” essentially translates to “a mixed of fried things.” In this recipe, Giada deep-fries calamari and shrimp, then serves them with a pesto dipping sauce.
Get the Recipe:Fritto Misto
If you’re hoping to get octopus (or polpo in Italian) into the menu, try this Italian salad that comes together in just 15 minutes. To save even more time, look for cooked, frozen octopus in the freezer section of your market.
Get the Recipe:Octopus Salad
Pan-Seared Branzino with Tomato and Capers
“Branzino is something you find a lot on the Amalfi Coast,” says Giada. “I remember coming here as a kid and having ton of fish.” She sears the mild white fish and serves it with a fast sauce that’s traditional in the south of Italy.
Get the Recipe:Pan-Seared Branzino with Tomato and Capers
Fritto Misto with Anchovy Dip
Made with a handful of ingredients, this anchovy dip pairs well with an assortment of fried food. That said, the bright and briny dip would also work well simply spread on toast or crackers.
Get the Recipe:Fritto Misto With Anchovy Dip
“What’s really cool about this version of spaghetti and clams is that there is a little bit of cheese in it,” says Christian Petroni. He grates Parmigiano-Reggiano all over his pasta at the end.
Get the Recipe:Spaghetti Vongole
Italian Seafood Salad
Ina Garten adds shrimp, mussels, scallops and calamari to her seafood salad. Because each of them cook slightly differently, she cooks each in batches. For the dressing, she whips up a mix of cooked tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice and limoncello.
Get the Recipe:Italian Seafood Salad
Salt Cod Dip
Baccala (read: codfish that has been dried and preserved with salt) is a fish for celebrations, especially Christmas Eve. Here, we’re turning it into a creamy, smooth dip that’s ideal for serving with crackers or crostini.
Get the Recipe:Salt Cod Dip
Mixed Seafood Pasta
Featuring shrimp, lobster and calamari, Ree Drummond’s creamy fettuccine dish is a wonderful way to incorporate three types of “fish” into one comforting entree.
Get the Recipe:Mixed Seafood Pasta
White Wine-Steamed Clams
Here is another outdoor-friendly option that couldn’t be easier to make: Just put clams, a few aromatics, some butter and a splash of wine in foil packets, then pop on the grill for 10 to 12 minutes.
Get the Recipe:White Wine-Steamed Clams
Calamari, Tomato and Caper Salad
Giada skips the deep-frying and sautes her calamari in a skillet along with garlic, tomatoes and red pepper flakes before tossing it all with a lemon-caper vinaigrette.
Get the Recipe:Calamari, Tomato and Caper Salad
Christmas Seafood Salad (Cappon Magro)
Giada features cod, shrimp and clams in her seafood salad, as well as an assortment of fresh vegetables. “You want to keep the color of the vegetables nice and vibrant, so you don’t want to overcook them,” she says.
Get the Recipe:Christmas Seafood Salad (Cappon Magro)
Some love baked clams topped with buttery breadcrumbs, while others prefer Clams Casino and its signature bacon. Here, Giada swaps out the bacon for pancetta, which still provides the little bits of crispy saltiness everyone craves.
Get the Recipe:Clams Casino
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