Home Recipe Roundup 25 Feast of the Seven Fishes Recipes for an Italian Holiday

25 Feast of the Seven Fishes Recipes for an Italian Holiday

Try these Feast of the Seven Fishes recipes for a beloved Italian holiday tradition.

This time-honored celebration is known as “La Vigilia” in Italian. It takes place on Christmas Eve and features a spread of seven delectable seafood dishes. It’s a culinary journey paying homage to Italy’s coastal heritage and the bounty of the sea.

Homemade Seafood Stew with Shrimp and Mussels
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Each dish is a testament to Italian culinary excellence and the joy of festive gatherings.

Get ready to savor the flavors of the Mediterranean as we explore this seafood-centric holiday tradition!

1. Air Fryer Calamari

This recipe takes classic fried calamari and gives it a healthier twist by using the magic of the air fryer. Tender calamari rings are coated in a light and flavorful batter. They’re also perfectly seasoned with herbs and spices. 

The air fryer creates a crispy and golden exterior while maintaining a tender and juicy interior. 

With significantly less oil, you can enjoy the delectable crunch without the guilt.

2. Shrimp Scampi

Prepare to be transported to a coastal paradise with this easy and yummy recipe! Sautéed to perfection, the shrimp boast a delightful tenderness and a hint of caramelization. It also has a subtle zing provided by white wine and lemon juice.

Plus, the heat from red pepper flakes adds an extra touch of heat. This dish is indulgent and guaranteed to satisfy!

3. Baccalà alla Napoletana

This traditional Neapolitan dish is a seafood lover’s delight. It features salted cod cooked in a tomato-based sauce with white wine, olives, and capers. 

This savory combination of ingredients creates a truly satisfying meal. It’ll whisk you away to the shores of Italy.

Baccalà alla Napoletana is a must-try culinary adventure.

4. Octopus Salad

Octopus salad is a refreshingly different dish that goes beyond the usual greens and dressings.

The texture and taste of the octopus along with olive oil-lemon sauce are a lovely combination. Plus, the high protein content makes it a healthy option without compromising on flavor.

This makes a wonderful starter for your seafood feast.

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5. Fresh Tomato Pasta Puttanesca with Anchovies 

Puttanesca with anchovies is a unique and flavorful Mediterranean recipe.

It blends salty, sweet, and tangy ingredients for a lovely combination.

If you prefer not to use anchovies in the dish, there are plenty of great substitutes available. Canned tuna packed in oil can be used as an alternative, as well as capers.

6. Italian Fried or Grilled Eel Recipe (Capitone Grigliato o Fritto)

Serve this unique and flavorful dish as an appetizer, main course, or even as part of the antipasto.

The eel is grilled or fried until golden brown and tender. Then, top it with a capers, oregano, or parsley.

If you’re not able to find fresh eel, you can replace it with mackerel, sea bass, or trout.

7. Seafood Stew (Cioppino) 

Cioppino originated in the fishing ports of 19th-century Italy. 

It’s a delicious combination of fish and shellfish in a tomato-based broth. For optimal flavor, fresh ingredients are best. 

Start with your favorite pieces of fish such as cod or halibut. Add mussels, clams, shrimp, or crabmeat to create a unique mix of flavors and textures.

8. Fried Smelt 

Fried smelt is a popular seafood dish among many cultures. It has a delicate flavor, with hints of lemon and dill. 

The fish is usually fried until golden brown, either using oil or butter. 

The best way to serve fried smelt is alongside steamed vegetables such as broccoli or carrots. Add a side of tartar sauce or a creamy dill sauce for a little creaminess.

9. Italian Seafood Salad (Insalata di Mare)

This zesty dish combines the freshness of seafood with the crunchy texture of veggies. The salad is further enhanced with spices and herbs. It’s dressed in lemon juice, which seals all the flavors together. 

The combination of zesty and salty notes makes it an ideal accompaniment to grilled salmon or baked cod.

10. Clams Oreganata 

Clams oreganata is an Italian-American dish with clams served in a savory breadcrumb and herb topping.

It’ll make you feel like you’re dining at a fine restaurant.

If you’re short on time or can’t find any fresh clams, try using frozen clams instead. Just be sure to thaw them out beforehand.

11. Baked Cod with Lemon

Baked cod with lemon is a tasty and healthy dinner option. The cod is light, flaky, and cooked in its own natural juices. The addition of lemon gives it a bright, zesty flavor. 

To maximize taste and nutrition, serve this dish with roasted vegetables or whole-grain rice. 

For a less expensive substitution, try using haddock instead of cod.

12. Mussels Marinara 

Sweet and savory marinara sauce complements juicy mussels perfectly in this recipe. It’s an easy-to-prepare meal, perfect for the busy holiday season. 

To serve it, spoon some of the sauce over a plate or bowl and top it with mussels. Sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top for a cheesy kick. Or, garnish it with parsley leaves or chopped tomatoes. 

13. Spicy Butter and Herb Baked Oysters

The best part about these oysters is their versatility. They can be served as an appetizer or entrée, depending on how you prepare them. 

Serve them in their shells for a fun presentation, or shuck them before baking for something more elegant. 

Try adding some smoked paprika for a spicy kick. Use white wine instead of butter for a light and refreshing taste. 

14. Fried Scallops

These golden brown morsels have a crunchy outer layer and a tender, succulent interior. 

The taste of fried scallops is slightly sweet with a hint of brininess from the sea. They pair well with creamy sauces, such as lemon butter or hollandaise, for added flavor. 

15. Broiled Lobster Tails with Garlic Lemon Butter

You can’t go wrong with broiled lobster tails! And the best part is, they can be cooked in just minutes!

The keyword here is simplicity. But the dish itself is nothing short of extraordinary. The garlic lemon butter brings out the sweetness of the lobster meat. This meal is the epitome of decadence.

For a twist, change up the herbs used in the butter mix. Oregano and thyme work well, too!

16. Frutti di Mare

Frutti di mare is a classic Italian seafood dish usually served with pasta. 

The flavors combine seafood cooked in garlic, white wine, and olive oil for a delicious savory taste. With an extra kick from the spicy arabbiata sauce, this dish can be served hot or cold.

17. Lemony Stuffed Quahogs

The recipe starts with quahog shells, which are filled with a mixture of delicious ingredients and spices. 

This combination gives the dish a strong citrus flavor. But the garlic and scallops also add depth to the overall flavor profile.

The stuffed quahogs are then baked in the oven until bubbly and golden brown.

18. Marinated Fresh Anchovies

Anchovies are delicate fish and make a great appetizer or light meal. The taste of the fish is accentuated with salty, tart flavors from the marinade. 

Not everyone is a fan of anchovies, but this simple recipe just might change their minds. It’s a celebrated dish in Italy!

19. Italian Poached Fish (Acqua Pazza)

This simple yet flavorful recipe uses the natural sweetness of seafood to create an unforgettable meal.

The name acqua pazza actually translates to “fish in crazy water.” But this dish is anything but wacky!

When served, it should be accompanied by some type of crusty bread for dipping into the delicious sauce.

This easy, tasty recipe is a feast for the senses.

20. Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail requires minimal effort but yields outstanding results. It looks impressive and tastes delicious!

It’s the perfect starter for salads, soups, sandwiches, pasta, and more. 

If you’re looking for an elegant presentation for a special occasion, try serving it in martini glasses with crushed ice.  

These shrimp are also great as part of an antipasto platter with assorted cheeses and crackers.

21. Pan-Seared Sea Bass

Pan-seared sea bass is an incredibly flavorful, light fish and can be prepared in minutes.

When searing the sea bass, it’s important to use high heat to quickly sear each side while avoiding overcooking.

Lemon wedges are a great accompaniment to bring out the delicious flavors of this amazing dish.

22. Garlic Parmesan Baked Flounder

This recipe is easy, affordable, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser! It comes together in just 20 minutes and is full of Mediterranean flavor. The addition of Parmesan gives it just the right touch.

It’s perfect with a healthy side salad. But if you’re looking for something more substantial, serve it with roasted potatoes or couscous.

23. Italian Fish Stew in Tomato Broth With Artichokes (Brodetto di Pesce)

This traditional dish is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. It’s brimming with tender pieces of fish swimming in a tasty tomato broth.

The addition of artichoke hearts provides a subtle bitterness. It balances out the sweet acidity of the tomatoes. And the dry white wine gives it the perfect amount of decadence.

This stew is ready in just 30 minutes. Plus, as a one-pot meal, cleanup is easy, too!

24. Cod Fritters (Frisceu di Baccalà)

Cod fritters are savory fried fish cakes made from mashed potatoes, cod, and a variety of herbs. The combination of ingredients creates a light yet flavorful texture everyone will enjoy.

They make wonderful appetizers, or you can easily serve them as the main attraction with the addition of tasty sides.

25. Lemon Garlic Swordfish

This flavorful fish has a light, mild flavor. It’s complemented perfectly with zesty citrus and garlicky notes of the marinade. 

Since it’s made on the stovetop, you won’t have to fire up the grill in chilly holiday temperatures.

It’s also a great source of lean protein, making it a healthy option for your feast.

25 Feast of the Seven Fishes Recipes for an Italian Holiday

Celebrate the holiday the Italian way with these Feast of the Seven Fishes recipes! Each dish is steeped in history and tradition.


  • Air Fryer Calamari

  • Baccalà alla Napoletana

  • Octopus Salad

  • Fresh Tomato Pasta Puttanesca with Anchovies

  • Italian Fried or Grilled Eel Recipe (Capitone Grigliato o Fritto)

  • Seafood Stew (Cioppino)

  • Fried Smelt

  • Italian Seafood Salad (Insalata di Mare)

  • Clams Oreganata

  • Baked Cod with Lemon

  • Mussels Marinara

  • Spicy Butter and Herb Baked Oysters

  • Fried Scallops

  • Broiled Lobster Tails with Garlic Lemon Butter

  • Frutti di Mare

  • Lemony Stuffed Quahogs

  • Marinated Fresh Anchovies

  • Italian Poached Fish (Acqua Pazza)

  • Shrimp Cocktail

  • Pan-Seared Sea Bass

  • Italian Fish Stew in Tomato Broth With Artichokes (Brodetto di Pesce)

  • Cod Fritters (Frisceu di Baccalà)

  • Lemon Garlic Swordfish


  • Select your favorite recipe.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a dish for Feast of the Seven Fishes in 30 minutes or less!
Feast of the Seven Fishes Recipes

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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