Low FODMAP Feast of Seven Fishes
Our Low FODMAP Feast of Seven Fishes is perfect for Christmas Eve, but these recipes will be welcomed anytime you want a fishy festive dish – or two, or three, or 5 or 7!
The Feast of Seven Fishes is an Italian American tradition that is celebrated on Christmas Eve, but other than the date, after that all bets are off! The dishes presented are as varied as the families that partake in this festive feast. In fact, each family seems to create their own traditions that they pass on to generation after generation – and many of the menus have been intact for quite a long time.
You might see lists that insist that baccalà, or salt cod, must be included, or that fried calamari is essential, but we take a broader look at this tradition, as do many of our Italian American friends.
Old Traditions – New Approach
Therese Hernandez is part of our FODMAP Everyday® and Facebook Group Low FODMAP for FOODIES community. She comes from a large Italian family and when she was growing up they typically had 40 to 50 people gathered for the Christmas holiday, usually at her Grandmother’s home.
(BTW I chatted with Therese shortly before Thanksgiving and she said she was hosting that holiday at her house and that she was very excited about ordering low FODMAP side-dishes from Epicured)!
Therese said that traditionally they would always have certain dishes, such as fried calamari with hot sauce, pasta with anchovies (her Grandma always added hot pickled cherry peppers), raw clams, big lobster tails slathered with garlic butter, shrimp scampi (more garlic!), cold seafood salad (her favorite) and shrimp cocktail, among other dishes.
Therese was just diagnosed earlier this year (2019) with IBS, so this will be the first holiday season where she is eating low FODMAP. Her IBS symptoms hit her hard last November, shortly after a course of antibiotics for a tooth infection. She ended up losing 60 pounds in less than half a year and was truly afraid to eat. Once she discovered the diet, everything changed for the positive.
She and I acknowledged that since both of us are cooks, and used to working with whole foods, that navigating the diet is easier for us. She received a formal diagnosis from a gastroenterologist and is also working with a Registered Dietitian, which we always recommend, and she is flourishing on the diet.
“Once I had my diagnosis, I threw myself into research and found the Facebook groups. As soon as I learned about the Monash app I downloaded it. I just started altering my own recipes and found a local RD to work with,” explained Therese.
Therese is doing everything right. We spoke with her about her family’s Feast of Seven Fishes traditions and how the low FODMAP diet was going to affect her approach going forward.
“I have been on your site everyday,” explained Therese, “starting to work on my strategy! Just the other night I made salmon, really simply, with Fody Lemon Herb Seasoning, a little olive oil and white wine and it was delicious.”
The family will gather at her Mom’s house, but Therese handles most of the cooking, “because I love it,” she enthused. The low FODMAP diet was not going to be a deterrent.
“I am stocked up on garlic-infused oil, ” she said.
Therese said she does not make her own garlic-infused oil, but I suggested that for traditionally garlic-laden dishes like scampi, she could start with her purchased garlic-infused oil, throw some garlic cloves in the pan, sauté it around in the oil and then remove the cloves, creating an extra-strength oil before adding her butter and shrimp.
“I love that idea! I am definitely going to try that,” she noted. “We will have shrimp cocktail – I use Fody Ketchup and horseradish for homemade cocktail sauce and was so happy when I realized horseradish was low FODMAP.
We will have the pasta with anchovies, for sure. I will sauté canned flat anchovy fillets in garlic-infused oil, add the vinegar peppers, and a little chicken broth for juice and body. We serve it over spaghetti. So easy.
Our family seafood salad is simple, too. The dressing is just olive oil, lemon, garlic and parsley. We add some celery. This year I will use the garlic-infused oil. It’s all about transitioning to low FODMAP!”
We KNOW Therese’s family is going to eat well. Her husband, 18-year old son (who is training for the Olympics in weight lifting), a 15-year old son, 11-year old son and a 2-year old son, all benefit from her comfort and ease in the kitchen.
THANK YOU to Therese for sharing her family’s traditions. Now it is time to make some of our own!
Feast Of Seven Fishes For Everybody!
We set out to create a Low FODMAP Feast of Seven Fishes for all of us to enjoy. Seafood, whether it is fish or shellfish, is low FODMAP since they are all proteins. We started with the desire for a variety of seafood, went into our Test Kitchen, and came out with 7 delectable fish creations that can be enjoyed even during the Elimination Phase.
Seven Fish – No Cheating!
Many Feast of Seven Fishes menus include a palate cleanser and a dessert – which means you really only get a measly five fish dishes. Yeah, we know that five is plenty, but we didn’t want to short-change anyone!
We have made sure that our seven-course feast truly features seven seafood dishes – and then we have thrown in a couple of appropriate desserts as extras. Just because!
And by the way, since you will be eating several dishes, brush up on FODMAP Stacking During The Holidays, to keep your tummy happy. This approach of 7-dishes will be a challenge for anyone and especially for FODMAPers, but it can be done if you use some willpower and keep portions small. We know, it’s easier said than done to “use-your-willpower”, but it is so worth it.
From all of us at FODMAP Everyday®, we wish you a fabulous holiday season. And BTW, you don’t have to be of Italian extraction to indulge. If you are a seafood lover – go for it!
Dish #1: Something To Nibble On
Christmas Eve celebrations can last for hours – for once, there is no need to rush! And no one says that all 7 dishes have to be presented at the table at one time.
We always need snacky items for holiday celebrations, so we decided to start with something easy to make and easy to eat. We give you our Low FODMAP Salmon Rillettes. It sounds fancy but is super simple to make. Rillettes are a rustic, country style pâté, which takes minutes to put together. And, always a boon for the holidays, can be made a couple days ahead. FODMAPers can use no-FODMAP carrots and cucumber to scoop it up. Others can indulge in toasted baguette.
Dish #2: More Substantial Finger Food
As the day wears on you need more than crudité and dip. Try our Trout Roe on Tiny Potatoes. Potatoes contain no FODMAPs, and neither does the trout roe, so this is a great choice.
Dish # 3: Something Tangy
Acid has a way of cutting through rich dishes and that’s something helpful on this somewhat indulgent day. We love our Low FODMAP Calamari Salad. It is tangy, chewy, crunchy, colorful (red and green!), very easy to make and even improves after a day or two. We can all use do-ahead steps during this busy time.
Dish #4: You Gotta Have Pasta – And Shrimp!
We love pasta, we love shrimp and we love things a little spicy. All of these fantastic ingredients and qualities come together in our Shrimp Fra Diavolo. Slurpy capellini, tender shrimp, a shower of hot pepper flakes and quick and easy preparation to boot.
Dish #5: Clams – and Sausage – and Mashed Potatoes – OH MY!
Have you seen our Low FODMAP Roast Clams & Spicy Sausages? This is a fantastic dish! Tender clams, rivulets of their briny juice combining with the spicy, porky flavor of sausages all piled up on top of low FODMAP mashed potatoes. Save room for this one!
Dish # 6: Whole Roast Fish
There are few dishes as spectacular as bringing a whole roast fish to the table. We know that this can be intimidating for some folks who are only used to handling neat and tidy filets. The trick is sourcing your fish from a reputable and approachable fishmonger and have them do some work for you.
Dish #7: Cioppino: Hearty Fish Stew
Cioppino is also of Italian American origin, hailing from San Francisco where Italian immigrants created this homestyle stew with the seafood available to them. Always tomato based, usually with wine, sometimes white sometimes red, this is a jam-packed seafood stew – and we have a great do-ahead step for you!
Dish # 8: Cannoli – Our Version
We have a love/hate relationship with cannoli, and we realized it was all about the pastry. It was often lacking in flavor and texture, but we have always loved the filling! Here is our Low FODMAP Cannoli Cream, featuring either our homemade low FODMAP Ricotta, or a small low FODMAP amount of conventional ricotta, combined with bittersweet chocolate, orange zest (from marmalade) and served over berries.
Dish # 9: Eat Your Champagne!
You didn’t read that wrong. Just look at the image of our Low FODMAP Champagne Gelée…Eat your champagne! Sparkling wine with a hint of sugar and just enough gelatin to hold it together. This is the kind of “light” dessert we can get behind. And, need we point out that if you don’t make this for Christmas Eve (or maybe even if you do), that you should whip it up for New Year’s Eve.
Dish #10: Lemon Granita – A True Palate Cleanser
Granita is an easy to make frozen dessert that does not require an ice cream maker. Lemon Granita is a specialty of Sicily and it makes the most refreshing palate cleanser. So, let’s say somewhere around fish #4 or #5 your taste buds are flagging. A few bites of this tart, bracing, icy concoction truly wakes up the palate. You could also serve it at the end as dessert. A sprinkling of pomegranate seeds or a raspberry or two adds a pop of flavor and is still low FODMAP.