Feast of the Seven (or Four) Fishes
Christmas Eve dinner is a tradition in both of our families, but this is the first year we are having Christmas Eve dinner with just the two of us (and the pup!). My family tradition usually involves lobster, while Jon’s traditionally involves the Feast of the Seven Fishes. We decided to attempt to modify our version by creating a simple (yet delicious) pasta dish with as many items of seafood as we thought we could handle.
First we started on the red sauce. In a 7-quart cast iron Dutch oven, we heated olive oil with fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes to give the sauce an Italian arribiata heat. Once the garlic was cooked, we added one box of Pomi chopped tomatoes, additional chopped cherry tomatoes, anchovy paste, tomato paste, fresh basil and a touch of paprika. We let this simmer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, we boiled water for the pasta.
Instead of seven fishes, we compromised with four: sea scallops, shrimp, cleaned squid and mussels. The first three were seasoned with Old Bay seasoning and lemon, while the mussels were simply cleaned and prepared accordingly. When the seafood was ready, everything was transferred into the the pot with the red sauce and placed in the oven at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.
For two people, we used the following:
- 1 lb 10-15 count shrimp
- 1/2 lb scallops (or 5 large sea scallops)
- 1/2 lb squid (we sliced squid into 1/4-inch rings)
- 2 lbs mussels
- 1 lb pasta
- 1 container Pomi
While the seafood was cooking, we started boiling the fettuccine, al dente (for two minutes less than recommended time on the package). Once the pasta was done, we took the seafood out of the oven and added the pasta to the mix. A quick toss of the pasta with the seafood and sauce was enough to combine all of the flavors. We finished the dish with a light sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Jon selected a nice, dry Chianti to pair with the pasta. With a loaf of fresh fresh bread on the side, we were ready to eat.
In all honesty, we have never made this dish before, and as you can tell, some of the proportions will depend on your own taste. Just follow your own cooking instinct and you will be on your way.
Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas Eve!
Do you have a favorite Christmas Eve cooking tradition?