Italian Seafood Salad is stuffed full of seven different kinds of fresh seafood. A family tradition on Christmas Eve but great for any gathering!
Italian Seafood Salad for Christmas Eve
This Italian Seafood Salad is inspired by my husband’s grandmother, who makes the most amazing seafood salad every year for Christmas Eve. Since moving to Utah almost three years ago, we have really missed our Christmas Eve celebrations with his side of the family. In trying to keep up those traditions, I now make this Seafood Salad for Christmas Eve and can only hope it lives up to Gram’s standards!
Feast of the Seven Fishes
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American celebration of Christmas Eve that includes dishes made with seafood and no meat. Our family traditionally has some sort of pasta dish, a green salad, and seafood salad as part of our Christmas Eve dinner. To honor the feast, I make my seafood salad with seven different kinds of seafood. It includes lobster, shrimp, scallops, halibut, calamari, mussels, and clams.
How to Make Italian Seafood Salad
- First, you need to soak your mussels and clams in water to clean out any leftover sand. Discard any that have cracked shells or shells that are open and won’t close when you tap on them.
- Next, poach your seafood, one at a time until they are cooked through. Be careful not to overcook them! Chill the seafood in the fridge while you make the dressing.
- To make the dressing, saute the garlic, Italian seasoning and red pepper in oil. Then, mix in some of the poaching liquid as well as the garlic powder, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Let this cool, while you prepare the seafood.
- To prepare the seafood, you will need to remove the meat from the lobster tail, peel the shrimp and remove the meat from the mussels and clams. If your halibut has skin on it, remove that as well.
- Next, chop the lobster, shrimp, scallops, and halibut into large chunks and slice the tubes of the calamari into similar sized pieces.
- Add cooked seafood to your serving dish with the dressing, the olives, and fresh parsley.
- Last, but certainly not least, let this chill in the fridge to allow all of the flavors to meld together. I recommend chilling for a minimum of 2 hours, but overnight is best.
Tips for Preparing the Seafood
- Keep your poaching liquid at a low boil so it doesn’t break apart the seafood.
- Make sure you don’t overcook the seafood, most of it is cooked in just 2-5 minutes.
- Need help removing the meat from your lobster tail? Here’s a helpful video.
Italian Seafood Salad for Christmas Eve
- 3 quarts water
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 Tablespoon old bay seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
- 1 5-6 oz lobster tail
- 1 pound 25/30 shrimp, shell-on, deveined
- ½ lb sea scallops
- 1 6-8 oz halibut filet
- 1 pound calamari, tubes and tentacles
- 1 pound mussels
- 1 pound clams
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large lemon, zest and juice
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 ½ cups olives cured in oil
- Place mussels and clams in a bowl and cover with cool water and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put water, wine, old bay seasoning, and salt in a large pot and bring the liquid to a low boil over medium heat.
- Boil the lobster in the poaching liquid first, for approximately 4-5 minutes till the meat is opaque, the shell is red and the tail is slightly curled. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Boil the shrimp next for approximately 3-4 minutes until the meat is opaque, the shell is pink and shrimp are slightly curled. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Boil the scallops next for approximately 2-3 minutes until they are opaque and slightly firm. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Boil the calamari next for approximately 1-2 minutes until they are opaque and firm. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Boil the halibut filet for approximately 4-5 minutes until it is opaque and flaky. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Boil the clams for approximately 2-3 minutes until they open. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Boil the mussels for approximately 2-3 minutes until they open. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Put cooked seafood in the fridge to chill while you make the dressing.
- To make the dressing, heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add in garlic, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Add in 1 cup of the poaching liquid, garlic powder, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Remove cooked seafood from the fridge. Remove lobster and shrimp from their shells and chop in large pieces. Chop scallops and halibut in large pieces. Slice calamari tubes and remove meat from clam and mussel shells.
- Combine all of the prepared seafood in a large bowl or serving dish. Add in fresh parsley, olives, and prepared dressing. Toss to combine.
- Chill salad in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight for best results. Check salad for seasoning and salt if needed before serving.
Comment below and let me know your family’s holiday traditions. Merry Christmas!