New Twists on the Feast of the Seven Fishes

seafoodgumbo.jpg
Photo by Southern Foodways Alliance
A good gumbo is rich, warm, and inviting -- just like any holiday should be.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes may be an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition, but it's so good that we think everyone should celebrate it. The feast, commemorating the wait for the midnight birth of Baby Jesus, usually consists of seven (or eight or nine) different seafood courses.

Typically, these include baccalà (salted cod), fried smelts or sardines, stuffed calamari, and some other combination of oysters, mussels, clams, shrimp and scallops.

While we love the traditional Italian preparations, we thought it'd be fun to turn a few on their head. From international takes to dishes with some H-town flair, here are Seven New Dishes for Your Feast of The Seven Fishes:

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Photo by snowpea&bokchoi
Filled with creamy mashed potatoes and flaky salt cod, these fritters make the perfect first bite.
Instead of Baked Salt Cod: Portuguese Baccalà Fritters

Traditionally, baccalà is served as the first course of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. We think these fritters make the perfect first bite.

Stuffed with salt cod and mashed potatoes, these breaded and fried croquettes are crisp on the outside and creamy and decadent on the inside. Serve them with lemon, garlic aioli and/or tomato sauce. Get the recipe here.

Instead of Stuffed Calamari: Squid-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

These breadcrumb-calamari-and-Serrano-stuffed piquillos are another great appetizer. If you're avoiding meat for the holiday, just remove the ham; otherwise, go all in on this recipe.

Serve the peppers in a light and fresh marinade of olive oil, garlic, parsley and tomatoes, and be sure to use any leftover bread for sopping up the juices.

Instead of Shrimp Risotto: Crawfish Mac and Cheese

We love the idea of mimicking the creamy rice dish with a crawfish-loaded, gooey and cheesy macaroni and cheese. This version uses Parmigiano-Reggiano, white cheddar, Gruyère, Fontina and, of course, a pound of crawfish tails.

Serve it family-style topped with chopped fresh parsley.



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9 comments
WestSideBob
WestSideBob topcommenter

I'll take conebaby's "NO" on making the fritter > baccala switch, but that recipe does make the fritters look like a great party appetizer for almost any occasion.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

I LOVE SEVEN FISHES. But baccala can't be replaced, even with a fritter. <3 baccala. My cousin Johnny makes it the best. Try to convince my husband to do seven fishes every year but it's too much work, even for him.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

This reads like a family effort with no slackers. The article is so well written I'd love to try it--and I don't even like seafood. My Mrs. would LOVE this.

Gianduia
Gianduia

@guurl 

I really wanted to get into the Dec 22 special Venetian dinner at Da Marco, but it's sold out and this is a close second....

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Thanks, on the tip-side. I doubt we'll make it this year but maybe next year.

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