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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Iannelli-Rubin

Michy's Seven Fishes In One Dish - Italian Seafood Salad

Family and cultural traditions call for seafood on Christmas Eve! Across most Roman Catholic dominated countries, Christmas Eve dinner is traditionally a meatless meal. One of the biggest family-centric holiday in Italy, Christmas Eve is a multi-course meal made up of the finest seafood and vegetables. Thanks to Southern Italy for originated of the Feast of Seven Fishes tradition, but we cannot thank them for the name. We have Italian-American immigrants to thank for that! The Feast of Seven Fishes includes fishes and vegetables in courses of antipasti, primi piatti, secondi piatti, contorni e insalate and dolci.

My family has served seafood on Christmas Eve, also know as the la Virgilia, since I can remember. A few years back, I began to incorporating this Italian Seafood Salad into our holiday. I included 7 fishes: Shrimp, Mussels, Scallops, Octopus, Baccala, Calamari, & Scungilli, into one dish for our family celebration.

I like to prep my seafood the night before I serve my salad, so it has time to marinate. My salad is refreshing & tender, with a little kick (a sprinkle of red pepper flakes). Very easy to prepare, I found this a great way to do 7 fishes in one plate.

This dish is great for Christmas Eve, and it's a perfect dish to enjoy year round!



  • 1 lb Scallops (smaller bay scallops left whole or larger sea scallops, halved crosswise)

  • 1 1/2 pounds (16- to 20-count) peeled and deveined shrimp

  • 1 lb Squid (aka Calamari) with tubes and tentacles, tubes sliced into ½ in, strips

  • 1 Octopus (make sure you beat it at least 40 times on the counter with a mallet)

  • 2 lbs bag PEI Mussels

  • 1 piece of Baccala (let soak in water up 2-4 days)

  • Scungilli (aka Conch) sliced thin or 2 Small Lobster Tails cut into pieces

  • 2 Fennel Bulbs, sliced thin

  • ½ large Red Onion, diced small

  • 3 whole Celery Stalks with leaves, chopped in small slices

  • a big handful of pimento stuffed green olives, drained and rinsed

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 3 lemon slices from one lemon


  • 3 Quarts Water

  • Splash of Olive Oil

  • 3 Cloves Garlic

  • 3 Bay Leaves, Fresh or Dry

  • 12 Black Peppercorns

  • 1 tsp Fennel Seeds

  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Parsley

  • 1 1/2 cup Dry White Wine

  • 1 tablespoon Salt (give or take)

Dressing for salad

  • 3 Fresh Squeezed Lemons

  • 1/2 Cup Good Olive Oil

  • chopped Italian parsley

  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

  • kosher salt to taste


  1. Prepare poaching broth by adding all ingredients into one medium sized pot. Bring to a boil, then place seafood in one at a time. Scallops about 2 minutes, Calamari, one or two minutes, Shrimp until they turn pink, Lobster three to five minutes depending on the size, it will turn pink and curl up, Octopus: for smaller ones about a foot long and weighing less than a half-pound, boil for 4 to 5 minutes; for large octopus (around 5 pounds), boil for a good 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Use a spider strainer to take them out of the liquid then place directly into an ice bath to stop the cooking process, you want all your seafood to be tender and not overcooked.

  3. Drain onto a paper towel lined baking sheet.

  4. When seafood is all cooked, chop up all your veggies and place into a big bowl, along with the olives.

  5. Add the prepared seafood into the large bowl.

  6. Add the three remaining garlic cloves and toss gently.

  7. Mix up your dressing and drizzle over your salad

  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, taste for seasoning.


  1. Spoon your salad into a pretty platter, add some lemon slices, more parsley and a drizzle of olive oil all over.

  2. Cover and let it sit in fridge for at least a few hours or overnight, let it warm up a bit before serving, but don't serve at room temp it needs to be cold. Bon Apetit!


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