The Feast of the Seven Fishes

The holidays are the perfect time to celebrate tradition and the spirit of the season with family and friends. Here in the Ocean State, many people enjoy the holiday festivities by preparing The Feast of Seven Fishes with fresh, local Rhode Island seafood.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American custom in which a meal of at least seven different kinds of seafood is served on Christmas Eve. The tradition is believed to have originated in Southern Italy where people would abstain from eating meat and milk products on Christmas Eve. Today, the Feast of Seven Fishes is prepared around the globe with a variety of seafood and shellfish in celebration of the Christmas holiday.

Here at The Town Dock, The Feast of Seven Fishes is a traditional holiday favorite! Whether it be calamari, paiche, or fresh fish, you can’t go wrong when you incorporate a local catch into the feast. With all the delicious recipes out there, the biggest challenge can be deciding your menu! Our advice: don’t be afraid to get creative. Add variety to your menu by incorporating new seafood ingredients into old favorite dishes, or by choosing a new dish that contains multiple types of seafood and shellfish. Of course, no feast would be complete without Town Dock calamari!

If you need a little inspiration, take a look at the Christmas Eve Calamari recipe below, or try one of the many fresh seafood recipes on our website. They will be sure to satisfy every appetite at your holiday table!


Christmas Eve Calamari

Christmas Eve Calamari

Image courtesy of William Meppem


  • 2 lb. cleaned calamari (fresh or frozen), both tubes and tentacles, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • Generous pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 8 slices rustic Italian bread, plain or toasted (bruschetta)


  1. With kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, cut each calamari crown of tentacles in half lengthwise to yield bite-size pieces.
  2. In a large sauté pan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring from time to time, until softened and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic and the salt to form a paste. Add the paste to the onion in the pan, add the red pepper flakes and oregano, and stir to incorporate everything thoroughly. Add the calamari and stir to combine. Sauté for a minute or two. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the wine, and let the mixture bubble for 2 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and their juices, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially, and simmer gently until the calamari is tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Uncover and continue to simmer gently until the sauce has thickened somewhat, which may take up to 15 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Serve in shallow bowls with the bruschetta or bread.

Recipe courtesy of Leite's Culinaria