Cooking Recipe | La Vigilia / The Vigil / Feast of the Seven Fishes

Antipasto di mare | Cooking Recipe for Antipasto di mare


On Christmas Eve, many Italian families observe the tradition of having only fish for dinner. This practice is called the La Vigilia or “The Vigil’ and also sometimes called the “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” Insalata di mare is one of the most popular dishes served to begin the celebration of midnight birth of the baby Jesus.

Servings: 4

Cook time: 20 min

Prepare time: 20 min

Recommended Wine
Bellet blanc


  •     2 soles
  •     2 red mullet fillets
  •     4 oysters
  •     2 gambas (prawns)
  •     2 crayfish
  •     octopus
  •     4 clams
  •     4 mussels
  •     For the garnishing:
  •     chives
  •     2 tomatoes
  •     string beans
  •     lemon
  •     pure cold-pressed olive oil


Preparation Instructions

  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Set up a bowl of ice and cold water nearby. Blanche the seafood one by one each for a minute or two and plunge them in the ice bath immediately after cooking.
  2. Season the fish with coarse salt and pepper. Cook in a sauté pan for about 3 minutes.
  3. While the fish cooks, place the string beans in the middle of the serving dish.
  4. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces and lay them in a circle around the dish. Place the fish on the serving dish. Arrange the seafood on the plate.
  5. Mix the olive oil, lemon, pepper, and fresh chive and spread over the seafood. In Italian, this is called “marecatta.”




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