Feast of the Seven Fishes

Anchovy crostini. Oddly, not the overwhelming hit I had expected them to be. Shocking.

“You have to post the menu,” my sister-in-law informed me on Christmas day. “I mean, that was totally redonk.”

You know it’s redonk, too, when mid-brunch – mid giant smorgasbord of choices brunch on Christmas day, your family is reviewing their favorite of the seven fishes.

“The scallops. The scallops were my favorite,” my brother said, “Well, the scallops and the salmon.”

“I liked the lobster dish best,” my mother chimed in.

“How ’bout the anchovies? Anchovies aren’t topping anyone’s list?” I asked, mock incredulously, because, despite my wanting to believe otherwise, apparently no one in my family loves anchovies as much as I love anchovies.

Then I reminded them of the tuna dip.

“Oh, yes, yes, the tuna dip. We wiped out the tuna dip. That was good.”

My family has traditionally been a very red sauce Christmas Eve kind of clan. We like our charcuterie and cheese plate for a little sophistication, but our typical Christmas Eve centered around meatballs, sausage, lasagne, calzone – you know, red saucy things.

But this year, a change was in order. The challenge of serving seven fishes beckoned me. It had to be done.

I did some research. I read an article. Well, okay, two. That certainly doesn’t make me an expert, but generally, it sounded like a do-as-you-like kind of fish fest. So long as there are seven, you’ve done it correctly.

Easy, right?

Well, that depends. As is my usual holiday denial way, I left most of the menu planning to the last possible minute. Or at least to the day before the 24th.

At the fishmonger’s on the 23rd with nary a plan, I ordered little neck clams (a bargain at $3.99 per pound), scallops (18 pieces, enough for 3 for each person), beautiful strips of salmon, salt cod from Canada, then debated langoustines or lobster. After a quick look at the langoustines, which were a less expensive option (trying to work the thrifty even at the holidays, I am), I went with a live local lobster.

Next stop, my favorite Italian market, where the charcuterie and cheese plate purchases were made (it’s not like we could do a wholesale reversal of family tradition, after all), as well as olive oil marinated anchovies.

By the time I arrived home, the menu looked like this. In my head, anyway:

  • Orange-marinated anchovy crostini with goat cheese, raisins, and toasted pine nuts
  • Lemony Tuna-Artichoke dip
  • Scallops with homemade bacon (thank you, Charcutepalooza)
  • Butter-sauteed lobster frittata
  • Butter-poached salmon with Meyer lemons
  • Clams in spicy tomato sauce with garlic toasts (doh! red sauce!)
  • Salt cod fish and chips (the idea to do “Italian-style” fish and chips is one that I robbed from a restaurant menu in Florence. I haven’t had their version, and the one we made here was decent, but could use a little more work.)

Despite this plan, the lobster frittata was causing me fits. I was concerned about overcooking the lobster as the frittata baked, and serving rubbery, stringy lobster, which could lead to protests and a call for a return to red sauce on the part of my guinea pigs – um, family. After all, they hadn’t requested a radical change to our Christmas Eve menu.

At about 2am on December 24th, after mulling over all of my possible egg and lobster options, I settled upon shirred eggs on toasted brioche, topped with lobster. 

By 8am, I had changed course slightly, and could be found stuffing brioche into the bottom of 12 muffin tins, topping the brioche with minced shallot and fresh thyme, pouring in lightly beaten eggs, then baking this concoction until the eggs had puffed up (like muffins, even), and had become golden brown at the edges. My mother thought they looked like popovers, which they did, but we’ll call them:

Butter-sauteed lobster on eggy brioche pudding with creme fraiche and green onions

How’s that sound? I’m still not 100% sold on it, but they have to be named something, right?

Yep. Just like a popover.

Most of these dishes need another testing before they can be posted here, but the tuna dip is a variation on the artichoke-lemon dip found here, yet fished up for the holiday. It takes about 10 minutes to assemble, another 30 minutes to bake until bubbly.

Store brands! Lemon!

Lemony Tuna-Artichoke Dip


  • butter for greasing the baking dish
  • (1) 5-ounce can tuna packed in water, drained (Whole Foods carries canned tuna that is pole and troll caught, which is the most sustainable method of fishing according to Monterey Bay Aquarium)
  • (1) 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained, chopped coarsely
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • the zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino-Romano
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a small baking dish with butter.
  2. Combine the tuna, chopped artichokes, shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and mayonnaise in the baking dish and stir well to combine, being sure that all of the ingredients are coated with mayonnaise.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the Pecorino-Romano over the top of the mixture.
  4. Bake the dip until it is beginning to bubble, and the top is golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Serve it forth with buttery crackers or crispy toasts.

11 Comments to Feast of the Seven Fishes

  1. carrie says:

    holy shit! all of that sounds amazing. i grew up in MD, so i’m used to eating a lot of seafood, but DAMN that is a lot of seafood. some intriguing pairings there, though!

  2. Yum times seven! Love this post and that dip looks totally redonk. Happy New Year!

  3. Paula says:

    Oh man! My husband would have loved to have been at this feast (though he would have passed on the anchovy dish too).

    I love the look of your Butter-sauteed Lobster on Eggy Brioche Pudding with Creme Fraiche and Green Onions

  4. Angry Asian says:

    you and me girl, we can tackle the anchovies to our hearts’ content. i love the stuff!

    happy holidays darling!

  5. Amy says:

    Hi Carrie! Your comment made me laugh out loud. It WAS a boatload of seafood, that’s for sure! Definitely a once-per-year kind of food fest, though I will make a few of the dishes – one at a time – for meals throughout the year!

    Thank you, Cathy! It was a great celebration, and the fam is still talking about the bacon, which is all thanks to you and Kim inspiring me to cure meat in the first place!

    Hi Paula! So nice to hear from you! Maybe we can find a mid-way point to meet up for a fish-fest sans anchovy (so as to not gross the husbands out)!

    Lan!!! We will totally devour all things anchovy together! More for us, that’s the way to look at it! Happy holidays to you, too!

    And Happy New Year, ladies!

  6. TICKLED Red says:

    LOL…redonk! You crack me up. My family has always celebrated with fish and pasta {no meat allowed} It was never an authentic Feast of 7 Fishes, but I think that’s because everyone was picky so the shortened it. I just love your menu. I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and that your New Year is full of joy & adventure xoxo

  7. Annapet says:

    How do I love thee anchovies? Let me count the ways! I can never be vegetarian because anchovies top bills my alphabet of crazy about ingredients. Then B for bacon, of course…We are charcutepalooza sisters.

    I grew up around water, so seafood is queen at family gatherings! I like your menu.

  8. Lana says:

    I am not Italian, but I so want to prepare The Feast of Seven Fishes for a Christmas Eve (Serbian tradition is to abstain from dairy, eggs, and meat, but fish rule:)
    I would love those anchovy crostini, but I know that at least half of my family would not (working on that).
    And tuna dip sounds amazing and very simple to put together.

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