Seafood is a must for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian Christmas Eve tradition. This salad with squid, shrimp, mussels, and crab is a delicious way to kick off the meal.


Credit: Emily Kate Roemer

Recipe Summary

1 hr 15 mins
1 hr 40 mins
Makes 10 cups; serves 8 to 10


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest, juice, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and garlic. Whisk in oil and chopped parsley.

  • Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts water, 6 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 cup salt to a boil. Add squid and blanch until just tender, 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon or a spider, transfer squid to an ice bath to stop cooking. Once cool, drain squid and lay on paper towels to dry; transfer to bowl with dressing.

  • Return water to a boil. Add shrimp, stir once, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 3 minutes; using a slotted spoon, remove to a plate to cool slightly; pat dry and transfer to bowl with squid. Return water to a boil and add mussels, reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes (discard any unopened mussels). Drain and transfer to a plate to cool. Remove all but 10 mussels from their shells and add to bowl with seafood. Reserve mussels in shell for serving.

  • Toss dressed seafood with fennel, bell pepper, celery, crab, and parsley leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, with reserved mussels and lemon wedges, or store, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 8 hours.

Cook's Notes

Soak mussels in cold salt water for 15 minutes before using to purge them of any residual sand. Make sure to pat the seafood dry after cooking to keep the dressing from becoming watered down.