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7 Festive Seafood Dishes for an Italian Christmas Celebration

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7 Festive Seafood Dishes for an Italian Christmas Celebration

Perhaps the most famous of all Italian Christmas traditions is the Feast of Seven Fishes. Enjoyed on Christmas Eve, the seafood dinner is part of a huge family celebration.

Legend has it this tradition originated in Southern Italy when Catholics were expected to fast, hence they ate fish as a substitute for meat. This unique tradition was later brought to America by the thousands of Italian immigrants who crossed the Atlantic.

While some families choose to prepare anywhere from three to 13 seafood dishes on Christmas Eve, the tradition remains very much alive in Italy and Italian-American households.

If you'd like to give your Christmas Eve dinner an Italian touch, here are some seafood recipes you can try:

Salt Cold Croquettes

This gourmet appetizer features golden croquettes served with polenta chips and colorful dipping sauces.

Click here for the recipe.

''Pizzaola'' Oysters

An exciting appetizer recipe with a twist from acclaimed Italian chef Gennaro Esposito.

Fresh oysters are baked with tomato sauce, oregano and other spices for a 'pizzaiola' flavor.

Learn how to make it

Octopus and Potato Salad

Lemon, herbs and olive oil are a great dressing for this refreshing Mediterranean seafood salad.

It features a delicious blend of octopus, artichokes, capers, scallions and potatoes.

Get the easy recipe here.

Seafood Salad

This Southern Italian specialty is prepared with mussels, prawns, squid, shrimp, clams and octopus - all dressed in plenty of lemon and extra virgin olive oil.

Learn how to make it.

Fried Eel

An Italian Christmas wouldn't be complete without a crunchy and delicious fried eel.

The trick to crispy skin? A light dusting of corn starch before frying.

Leftover fried eel may be stored in white wine vinegar so it can pickle overnight and be used for a salad the next day.

Get the recipe now.

Spaghetti with Clams

A quintessential Italian dish: pasta and clams with a splash of white wine.

A generous sprinkle of parsley and a touch of crushed red pepper flakes ensure extra flavor.

Here is the traditional recipe.

Black Risotto with Seafood

Christmas is the perfect occasion to serve this striking main course.

Arborio rice simmered with fish stock, white wine, octopus ink, garlic, onions and finished off with an assortment of seafood.

Find the recipe right this way.

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