In this salad bowl that is the United States of America Christmas dinner tables reflect traditions and cultures from all over the globe. While we tend to think of a traditional Christmas dinner as mashed potatoes, turkey, yams, and greens, when you think about it, there really is no traditional American Christmas.
Take for instance the seven fish feast known to most Italian Americans. It has been a tradition for over a century when Italian immigrants began coming in droves to America’s shores. For those Americans, a traditional Christmas is always a seafood Christmas! In fact, they serve seven different fish dishes on Christmas Eve.
Not every Italian family celebrates the Feast of the Seven fishes and some kind of short-hand the meal by cooking a big seafood stew instead of seven fish dishes. Regardless, you don’t have to be of Italian heritage to celebrate Christmas with a seafood dinner. Many Asian cultures do as well. Again, who needs an excuse! You can be a 10th generation American brought over here from England or Africa and still enjoy a seafood Christmas.
In that spirit, we decided to put together the ultimate guide to a Seafood Christmas. Whether this is your first time serving up fish for Christmas or you are just looking for ways to mix up your traditions in this topsy-turvy year, we have chosen a delectable menu of seafood dishes to make your seafood Christmas a hit!
Just like our dinner tables reflect our diverse population, Christmas Day varies from household to household. For some families, it is a long day beginning with a late brunch or lunch. Some families only get together for dinner. Either way, you are going to want to start everyone off with a nice seafood appetizer.
We chose a starter which rounds out all of the dishes on this list as it is the only clam-based dish on our list. Spruce Eats has a recipe for a Creamy Clam Dip that sounds out of this world! It blends minced clams with cream cheese, some tobacco and Worcestershire sauce, dab in a bit of sour cream and serve over pita chips or a dipping bread of your choice. This recipe recommends jazzing the clam dip up with stuff like bacon bits, red peppers, and chives to give it an extra kick.
Seafood Lunch Ideas
Families that spend all day together on Christmas day need something a little heartier than an appetizer to tide everyone over until dinner. In that case you’re going to need something on the menu for lunch. For a seafood lunch, we came up with two different ideas. On one hand you can serve a seafood stew. That way people won’t be tempted to eat their napkins while they wait for dinner!
We found an awesome looking Seafood Stew Recipe from iheartnaptime.net. It blends two pounds of shrimp and scallops with lobster and crab in a savory stew broth. You can take it up a notch and give the people something to sop up the juice – like this recipe for flaky biscuits! It’ll stick to your ribs but still leave room for dinner.
If seafood stew doesn’t grab you, check out this mouthwatering Seafood Casserole Recipe we found! Just looking at it makes me hungry! Mixed in are chunks of crabmeat, lobster, and shrimp. This seafood lunch dish could fill you up so make sure to space it out far enough ahead of dinner so that people aren’t too stuffed for the main course.
Seafood Dinner Ideas
Now on to the main course. We are going to give you several options for your seafood dinner based on different types of seafood. Our first seafood dinner recommendation is a whole fish and salad for an entrée. We’re talking about the Creamy Tuscan Salmon recipe from the Food Charlatan. A cheesy, buttery, creamy sauce accented by cherry tomatoes and spinach and a beautifully presented seared salmon in the middle – you can’t go wrong with this one! Plus it only takes a half hour to cook it.
To complement the salmon, we found an extraordinary little salad that we think pairs very nicely with this entrée. We’re talking about the Cold Soba Noodle Salad from Spruce Eats. The flavor is more reminiscent of a tangy Asian dish but the soba noodles and crunchy veggies go very well with the creamy seared salmon.
Serving a whole fish at a Christmas dinner party requires a solid head count. You don’t want to serve a fish that isn’t big enough to feed everyone but you also don’t want one that is too big to cook right. This recipe from Delish uses a large three pound salmon to serve a healthy sized crowd. You may need a couple of salmon to feed everyone. The best part about this oven baked Parm Crusted Salmon is that it is super easy to make but looks so fancy people will think it took some real skill to pull off!
Salmon not your thing? No worries, we have another fish recipe for you. Our personal favorite is the “Best Baked Cod” recipe from Delish. It’s an amazingly simple recipe and can be served with practically any side and will be great. Delish recommends roasting some potatoes or adding zucchini, onions, and tomatoes along with many other options.
Looking at shrimp recipes, we found two appetizers that could be served as a starter meal or as a side dish to your main entrée. Either way, here are two bomb ass recipes for shrimp dishes. The first is a Shrimp Scampi Dip from Damn Delicious, smothered in cream cheese, topped with mozzarella, and infused with a splash of white wine.
If you aren’t a fan of clam dip, this is an excellent replacement. You can use pita chips to dip or sliced French baguette. The Shrimp Appetizer Spread from Taste of Home makes an awesome side dish or second course. It is gorgeously presented and filled with so many amazing goodies that blend together perfectly.
Despite how intricate it looks, it is really simple to make. The cream cheese and sour cream base is blended together and then topped with a special seafood sauce, cooked shrimp, mozzarella, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Simple crackers go well with this dip too.
Anyone who has ever been to a Feast of Seven Fishes before knows that lobster tails are almost always one of the fish courses. On the holidays, the presentation matters greatly in how you serve lobster tails. We found an excellent recipe for Grilled Lobster Tails from Spruce Eats. What we love about this recipe is its versatility.
You may be the type that only uses fresh live lobster. Others may be just fine using frozen lobster. It doesn’t matter; they both turn out the same when they come off the grill! The only difference is you have to parboil live lobster before you start prepping them for the grill.
These buttery lobster tails get a double butter (or olive oil) bath in this recipe. You smother it in a butter-based sauce while you grill and then you make a separate sauce for dipping. Add lemon juice, salt, and dill to the second dish of melted butter to bring out all of the flavors flowing out of these juicy lobster tails!
On the other hand, you could serve Classic Lobster Thermidor although you’re going to have to put in a little more work for this dish. However, your guests will appreciate the effort when they sink their teeth into it! This recipe calls for a specific type of lobster – a one to one and a half pound New England lobster per person.
Both of the crab recipes we found are fantastic appetizers but you can mix them into your seafood Christmas menu however you see fit! First we found the Hot Crab Cheesy Artichoke Dip from Lecremedelacrumb. This dish is supposed to be served hot (thus the hot in the name – not spicy) so you’ll need a warmer for this one.
Besides that it is quite easy to make. You just blend the crab with the artichokes and the sour cream base, top it with parmesan and seasonings and then pop it in the oven. It only takes about 20 minutes to bake. This goes great with either crackers or baguettes.
Our second option we thought was just too cute and reflects the festive nature of Christmas. It’s the Crab ‘n Cheese Pinwheels from Taste of Home. All you need are some crescent rolls, cheese, crab, and olives to make these pretty treats. Serve them as appetizers in a decorative Christmas basket or as yummy rolls to go with your main course – it’s up to you!
Last on our list are two seafood pasta dishes that could serve as the stars of the show on Christmas day. First up is a heavenly looking recipe for Seafood Lasagna from Delish. It combines shrimp, crab, ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, and heavy cream to make a cheesy, saucy crowd-pleasing lasagna. If you are dealing with guests who are leery of a seafood dinner for Christmas, this dish is sure to change their minds!
Our last recommendation for a seafood pasta entrée is another familiar Italian dish that swaps out beef and sausage for seafood. We’re talking about the Seafood Pasta recipe from Delish. This spaghetti style entrée can feature one or a couple seafood meats. The original recipe uses shrimp and scallops. But hell, if you prefer lobster or crab meat or even clams and mussels, swap them out or throw them all in if you think it will work!
The sauce is light and creamy, blending milk and chicken broth and topped with parmesan cheese. Mix it all together with spaghetti noodles and you have a seafood Christmas dinner that your guests won’t soon forget!