Mixing With Tradition: Holiday Food Ideas


Every family has their own special holiday traditions. One that has a long history is the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes. This is a meal traditionally held on Christmas Eve within Italian families.  The meal consists of seven fish dishes – seven being the most repeated number in the Bible.

Here are some suggestions for taking the Italian Seven Fishes meal and transforming it into your own. 

1.  Shrimp-cocktail-400x300  Shrimp Cocktail
Grab some fresh shrimp from the market or buy a frozen bag, shrimp cocktail is a great appetizer for any meal.  Boil or steam the shrimp. Combine cocktail sauce ingredients and serve chilled.   

1 lb cooked peeled and deveined shrimp
Cocktail Sauce:
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon horseradish
2 teaspoons lime juice
Lime wedges for garnish


2.   Bacon wrapped scallops

These can also be frozen or fresh – wrap an uncooked bacon strip around each uncooked scallops and broil on a non-stick cooking sheet.  Serve as an appetizer or entre.

3.   Calamari

Squid rings, cleaned and cooked
¾ cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
Oil for frying

Marinate squid rings in salt and pepper, Dredge the marinated rings in flour, followed by eggs, and then bread crumbs.  Fry squid in a large skillet with a generous amount of olive oil. 


4. Lobster can get expensive and it is not always easy to get in late December, so why not order take out…sushi take out! A lobster roll at Christmas Eve dinner can really mix things up!

Linguini-clam-400x3005.  Linguini with clam sauce.

6.  Crab Cakes: Get Former Miss D.C. Jen Corey’s recipe here

7.  Tex Mex Fish Tacos from TLC.com can be a fun family activity as well as a good way to mix up Christmas Eve dinner. There are many steps in making a mean fish taco—from grilling or frying the fish to preparing the salsa–everyone can have a role in making the dish. What’s a better way to spend family time than preparing a meal together?

Shake up your family’s Christmas Eve routine this year and try out this time-honored tradition!


--Alex Zuckerman

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