Feast of the Seven Fishes with the Caputo Family

Matt and Yelena Caputo, owners of Caputo’s Market & Deli, shared their Feast of the Seven Fishes menu with us and tips to assemble a stunning global feast in less than two hours.

Christmas Eve at the Caputo Household

“We have a very diverse array of family that come to our house on Christmas Eve,” says Matt, to start the conversation about their traditions. “We have Greek and Italian on my family’s side and Brazilian. And Yelena’s family have a Russian and Armenian background.” Within this cultural and culinary melting pot, they found the commonality for dinner was a tradition of having fish on Christmas Eve. The Brazilian family brings a layered Brazilian/Portuguese casserole made with salted cod, while the Russian side makes cured salmon. 

“We had this great meal with everyone bringing all these wonderful fish dishes,” says Matt. “It was just an epiphany that we had,” adds Yelena. “We realized that we all had the roots in this tradition, but it also dovetails so nicely to hosting a big gathering. Everybody knows they will come to our home for Christmas Eve. The Feast of Seven is like this conduit, which is a very easy way to assign a dish to everybody and say, ‘We want your cultural contribution to this melting pot.’ And that’s how we build the Feast. It is an easy and succinct way for everybody to get on board.”

The Caputo Family Feast the Seven Fishes Menu

Appetizers

1st Fish: Anchovies (Room Temp) | Smashed Cured Anchovies on Salted Butter Toast

2nd Fish: Trout (Cold) | Smoked Trout Dip with Tinned Smoked Trout, Creme Fraiche, Capers, Shallots and Lemon;Served with Potato Chips

Sips: Vermouth Spritz and Chilled Bubbles

Second Course

3rd Fish: Bacalahau aka Salted Cod (Warm) | Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, Brazilian Salted Cod Layered Casserole with Potatoes, Olives and Hard Boiled Eggs

4th & 5th Fish: Squid and Trout (Hot) | Squid Ink Risotto with Curried Trout Conservas (Tinned Fish)

Sips: Orange Wine

Third course

6th Fish: Salmon (Room Temp) | Fatty Baked Salmon with Crème Fraiche, Lemon Zest and Dill. Served with a lemony herb salad.

7th Fish: Cockles (Hot) | Fresh Cockle Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic

Sips: Beaujolais or Pinot Noir
(Yes, you CAN pair reds with fish)

Dessert

Melomakarona — Greek-style honey cookies | Trubochki — Russian horn-shaped pastry filled with cream | Apple Pie — American as they come, and a nod to Tony Caputo, who loved pie

Sips: Amaro Bar

Recipe: Squid Ink Risotto with Curried Mackerel

This inky-black recipe for risotto is made on the spot but topped with a warm tin of curried trout for a black-orange showstopper of a dish. It comes together in about 20 minutes and the stirring can be assigned to one of your guests if everyone tends to gather in the kitchen and nibble as you cook.

Frankie Caputo is making squid ink risotto. Photo by Adam Finkle

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sliced garlic 
  • ½ bag Spanish Bomba Rice 
  • Splash of white wine
  • 4 cups fish broth (we prefer Aneto Fish Broth but can use chicken or vegetable broth, or even water)
  • 1 tablespoon Squid Ink 
  • 1 tin of Jose Gourmet Mackerel in Curry Sauce 
  • Salt & Pepper 

Directions:

  1. Warm olive oil in a large pan or pot over medium heat. Add diced onion and saute until almost soft. 
  2. Add tomatoes and garlic and combine with onion. 
  3. Add Spanish rice and coat rice with the sauteed mixture to allow flavors to marry. 
  4. Add a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan as rice begins to stick. 
  5. Allow wine to evaporate and begin adding broth ½ cup at a time giving time for rice to absorb the broth. Continue the process with remaining broth. Taste rice as you go to determine if desired texture has been reached. If you prefer a softer bite, add water in addition to the broth until desired texture is reached. 
  6. Add squid ink and incorporate in the dish. The color will start to change almost immediately. If needed, add more broth or water to help incorporate squid ink throughout the dish. 
  7. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. 
  8. Plate the rice and top with a tin of Jose Gourmet Mackerel in Curry sauce. Be sure to use ALL the sauce from the tin. It may be your favorite part!

Learn about another food tradition from the family behind Mexican restaurant Casa Del Tamal!

See more stories like this and all of our food and drink coverage. And while you’re here, why not subscribe and get six annual issues of Salt Lake magazine’s curated guide to the best of life in Utah. 

Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinezhttp://www.saltlakemgazine.com
Lydia Martinez is a freelance food, travel, and culture writer. She has written for Salt Lake Magazine, Suitcase Foodist, and Utah Stories. She is a reluctantly stationary nomad who mostly travels to eat great food. She is a sucker for anything made with lots of butter and has been known to stay in bed until someone brings her coffee. Do you have food news? Send tips to lydia@saltlakemagazine.com

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