Seafood Recipes

Seafood Salad Marinated for Christmas Eve !

Seafood Salad Marinated for Christmas Eve.  Seafood Salad, marinated days before prior to being served, has been our holiday tradition as the first course served on Christmas Eve for as long as we can remember. Mom would spend days in the kitchen preparing her menu for Christmas Eve dinner, and every one couldn’t wait to eat her seafood salad which consists of five (and sometimes even seven) different types of fish.

Here is a simpler version for you to make, made with a medley of two types of fish; squid (also known as calamari) and shrimps which are marinated with green olives, parsley, garlic and celery in a lemon vinaigrette. Also commonly known as “Frutta di Mare.”

OK, we are hopeless sentimentalists when it comes to the holidays and special occasions!

Marinated Seafood Salad is always served as our first course during our Christmas Eve dinner, known as the feast of seven fishes! This has been and still is today, a southern Italian Christmas tradition, where we spend weeks of preparation setting the stage for “La Vigilia,” Christmas Eve, celebrating the birth of Jesus! 

The tradition of “La Vigilia” is all about the “feast of seven fishes,” serving seven types of seafood.   We make seven fish dishes because they represent the seven sacraments according to the Roman Catholic church, where as in other traditions, the seven courses represent the last week of Advent.

Moms seafood salad is packed with flavors, it is very light, high in protein, low in calories and in fat!  It is the ultimate seafood salad EVER! ….and oh so delicious!  If you are a Seafood LOVER… you’ll love this one!

Although our mom would definitely not approve of reducing her recipe, shh… we prefer not to tell her. She makes this holiday traditional “frutta di mare” every year for Christmas Eve consisting of squid, shrimp, octopus, scungilli and scallops. Moms salad is really special and totally AMAZING!  But it is definitely a lot work, because she has to cook each fish separately before assembling together. A dish she would prepare three days before serving.

This seafood salad is the first and one of the seven seafood dishes we always serve on Christmas Eve. And it’s the most favorite!

Here’s a Tip:  This salad is very easy to make, and cost effective. We highly recommend buying the “already cleaned” seafood at your local fish market. It really helps to cut the time in half in the prep work.  It is a wonderful seafood salad and one your family and friends will love you for it!

Seafood Salad Marinated 

  • 2 -3 pounds small squid bodies (calamari) – already cleaned
  • 1 pound shrimp- cleaned, deveined- cut in halves


  • Juice 2 to 3 lemons, or more to taste
  • 5 ounces pimento martini olives-rinsed, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley- chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 3  stalks of celery – sliced
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ground black pepper to taste

In a shallow bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients.
Mix well and set aside.

Rinse the squid thoroughly in cold water. Remove and discard any plastic-like spine bone from the inside. Cut the bodies into 1/4 to 1/2 inch rings. Set aside.


In a large sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water to boil. Add some salt to the water.
Add the shrimp and boil until they turn pink, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and transfer to a colander and allow to cool.
Cut each shrimp in half and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Meantime, using the same pot with salted boiling water, add the squid rings to the boiling water and boil until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.  The squid should be tender to the bite, not chewy.
Remove and drain well.

Transfer the cooked squid into the bowl with the shrimp, add the lemon vinaigrette dressing and toss together until well combine. Add some fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Cover and allow it to marinate overnight in the refrigerator, turning the mixture occasionally. Seafood salad will stay fresh refrigerated up to 3 days.

Before serving, allow the salad to come to room temperature.
Transfer the seafood salad to a large serving platter and serve.

Serves 6 to 8

Thanks for stopping by!


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  • Reply
    December 25, 2011 at 9:38 am

    If I ate seafood, I'd love to do the Feast of Seven Fishes. It sounds so lovely, and I really adore traditions like it.
    Your seafood salad sounds like a perfect addition to the meal. Hope both of you have a very Merry Christmas

  • Reply
    Sharyn Bauersfeld
    December 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    This all looks so good I can't stop thinking about it. I may able to make it this Christmas but I will very soon. THANKS

    • Reply
      December 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      Thank you Sharyn for the lovely comment and for stopping by! So nice to meet you! Have a happy holidays!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    We actually rarely eat any fish on Xmas Eve! But maybe I'll pass this recipe onto my mom and see what she can do!

    • Reply
      December 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Thanks, Joanne. Growing up- we had no choice. But today, as we try to maintain the traditions as much as possible, there's always one person who doesn't eat seafood (my middle child) so for her, we'll grill some meat so she doesn't' absolutely starve on the Eve. Have a great day!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    This is a perfect dish for the Italian in me. Happy Holidays.

  • Reply
    Dan from Platter Talk
    December 23, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    WOW. If your mom made food like this I can only imagine all the wonderful dishes that you must have grown up with, for holidays and ordinary days! This salad looks incredible. Your photographs are top-notch, and along with this recipe helps make for an epic post. Very nicely done. I wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season, it's been so nice to discover your work, I look forward to more of the same for the new year!!

    • Reply
      December 24, 2013 at 2:03 am

      Dan, you are so sweet! And, yes our mom made the most amazing dishes ever! She learned her culinary skills from a Chef in a famous Hotel called Punta Tragara, in Capri, Italy, which still exits. As of today, it is one of the top hotels in Italy. She was a newlywed and didn't know how to cook, so she went everyday into the kitchen of the hotel to watch the chefs cook. And, that's how she learned how to cook. We love your tutorials as well as your recipes. Have a great holiday!!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    December 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    This would be wonderful any time but I love the tradition behind the recipe. It looks delicious!

    Merry Christmas you both and your families!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    December 11, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I love how it can be made ahead of time. This time of year I need all the help I can get! I've never used squid before but love the shrimp 🙂 Merry Christmas ladies!

  • Reply
    Roz Corieri Paige
    December 13, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Having an allergy to any and all shellfish (but not to fresh fish not inside of a shell), I will never be able to enjoy this Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. My family is from the Northern mountains of Italy and were so poor that they had never even heard of this tradition (obviously in the mountains, seafood was not standard fare), therefore this tradition was never included in our family recipes for Christmas from Italy to our family's presence in the States. We always included "cucina povera" (the food of the poor), of which my family suffered from in the cold northern mountains — primarily tortellini in brodo, polenta, risotto, contucci (commonly known today as biscotti) . . . despite these now being such popular and trendy (and often expensive) food items of today. But alas, with my allergy that developed 31 years ago during my second pregnancy, I'll never be able to enjoy this fabulous traditional Italian feast! But I wish all of you complete, and total enjoyment of this delicious feast!

    • Reply
      December 16, 2014 at 12:44 am

      I know how you feel since my oldest daughter has the same shellfish allergy like you. Every Christmas Eve we make her a small filet mignon and some pasta with simple marinara sauce. This way she feels she is getting a special holiday dinner like the rest of us. Also thank you for telling us about your traditions from the North. We love hearing about other holiday traditions from other regions in Italy. So interesting! Thanks again xo

  • Reply
    Dan from Platter Talk
    December 10, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Incredibly beautiful and delicious looking tradition here, ladies. Thank you for sharing this dish of your mom's!

    • Reply
      December 10, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you Dan for your sweet words!
      Have a great weekend!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2015 at 9:55 am

      One More! Thank you for the best and easiest seafood recipe. I've tried many, but this is the one I'll use from now on. After serving it, I have requests for the recipe. I added small scallops also. Soooo good.

    • Reply
      December 29, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Anonymous! So glad to hear you made our seafood salad! Adding in more fish is always a bonus,and makes it even more tastier! Thank you for letting us know and leaving a comment! Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!
      Xoxo Anna and Liz

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    December 7, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Just got back from Mexico and this reminds me somewhat of their great ceviches! Yum!

    • Reply
      December 8, 2016 at 3:16 am

      So glad to hear Abbe! I bet you had a great time in Mexico, thanks for stopping by!

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