Lou & Lucy’s Leftovers: Feast of several fishes

  • Lou’s cold baccala salad was so good he made it twice this past holiday season. FOR THE GAZETTE/LOU GROCCIA

Published: 1/11/2020 1:57:35 PM
Modified: 1/11/2020 1:56:54 PM

I am sure most people have heard of the Italian tradition, the Feast of Seven Fishes. Well, for a family Christmas Eve celebration, it became the feast of several fishes. We kind of lost steam after five fishes. But having anchovies in two of the dishes perhaps counted for six. Hopefully not making all seven fishes won’t mean seven years of bad luck. I think that has more to do with breaking a mirror.

The idea for having this feast stemmed from the various food requirements of nine people. This one doesn’t eat red meat, this one doesn’t eat any meat, this one doesn’t eat shellfish, but does like fish and meat.

I’m sure everyone knows what I’m talking about. The days of throw a roast into the oven and everyone is happy are long gone. Everyone says, “Just cook whatever you want don’t cook anything special for me.” I just can’t seem to do that. I want everyone to enjoy the meal — the whole meal.

Anyway, we ended up with bluefish pate, smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail and bagna cauda — a garlic anchovy dip — all as appetizers. Then, as the main course, swordfish puttanesca with angel hair pasta. I have to stop and thank North Shore Seafood market for some outstanding swordfish.

I ordered in advance so I didn’t have to stress trying to find swordfish because it never fails, when I decide to make a dish with a specific ingredient, the ingredient is not to be found or not up to snuff. It really turned out great and everyone loved it. All tastes and food requirements accounted for.

Actually we also had some sardines made from chocolate, so that counts as a fish.

I would try the feast of several fishes again, and maybe actually make it to seven. Or maybe just make it the feast of one fish, which will definitely be the swordfish puttanesca. It was easy and really, really good.

I will now turn this over to the Italian guy who no doubt is an expert on this feast.


I’d like to say that it’s the thought that counts, but in this case it really is the count of seven that matters.

I would have made the seven dishes and told my guests to eat it or leave it, so to speak.

I didn’t get a chance to do the feast this past holiday season, but I appeased my future luck by making, over the course of a couple of weeks, the following:

■Two different servings of fried smelts. Dusted in potato starch and finished with salt flakes and lemon juice. Divine.

■Two different servings of cold baccala salad. This is reconstituted salt cod mixed with anchovies, hot peppers, onions, capers, bread crumbs, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Must be served with cold beer, of course.

■Swordfish and salmon done sous vide. If you haven’t had fish done sous vide, you have not experienced pisces perfection.

■Spaghetti with tuna fish. This is a red sauce delicacy made with canned tuna in olive oil. One of my favorite dishes.

■Smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel. Not even remotely Italian but quite tasty.

All in all, a feast for the senses.


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