In central and southern Italy, a traditional Christmas Eve dinner always includes seafood. Chef Mario Batali's seafood-salad recipe is perfect for Christmas Eve or any time fresh fish is available. Ideally, you should buy the fish on the morning of the meal.
Each summer, many lobsters' tough shells are replaced by thin ones. These lobsters, called "shedders," are a delight to eat-it takes no effort to get at the tail and claw meat. Still, it is smart to keep a pair of crackers at hand, just in case. Boiling lobsters in court-bouillon, a staple for poaching seafood, makes them quite flavorful in the absence of seawater.
Serve lobster precracked so that it is easy for guests to pick up and eat. The tails are sliced and rearranged into their shells for an attractive presentation, and drawn butter is served warm for dunking.