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What's Your Favorite Seafood Dish?!

  • z

Every Christmas, instead of having a traditional ham or turkey and sides, my family does "SEAFOOD FEST"!! It's like a Festivus of Food. We don't really have any traditional side dishes... maybe some rice or rolls or something green. Everything else is seafood: crabcakes, baked scallops, stuffed clams, steamed lobster, swordfish, sea bass, shrimp etoufee, you name it, we cook it. We've done this for the last ten years.

This year, all I've got for the menu is clam chowder and bacon-wrapped scallops. I need some ideas for this year's Seafood Fest, so where else to find them but the Chowhound board??

So what's your favorite seafood dish? It can be anything from a side dish to a main course; it can be buttered, battered, broiled, or fried; steamed, creamed, or raw and cleaned. As always, thanks for the input!

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  1. Shrimp Scampi, extra garlicky
    Crab Imperial
    Poached salmon served cold with horseradish dip
    Lobster Roll
    Seafood salad made with squid, shrimp, crab and lobster, olive oil and lemon vinegarette

    1. I like to start with fried calamari- straight from the pan- with a garlicky spicy fresh mayo. Big bowls of very garlicky steamed clams and fresh bread for dipping the the juices makes me happy. Also because they are "finger foods" they work well with pacing the meal and not filling up too quickly.

      1. Fried soft-shell blue crabs
        Steamed Ipswich clams with broth and butter for dipping
        Tuna Ceviche
        And I am fiend for fish tacos

        1. simply grilled scallops
          sesame or peppercorn crusted seared tuna
          fish kabobs
          manhattan clam chowder
          mini crab cakes
          quiche with crab, cheese and broc or spinach
          tea cakes with smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese

          1. Grilled eel
            O-toro sashimi
            Abalone sashimi
            Deep-fried shrimp heads
            Grilled salmon (rare)
            Grilled scallops
            Crab cakes
            Fish maw soup
            McDonald's Filet-O-Fish

            1. Perfect scallops, perfectly seared.

              1. I fully acknowledge that I lack range and imagination and I'm worse than a one trick pony and more predictable than a trained pig but while I'm in Florida, where stone crab season began 5 weeks ago today, I have eaten them as a meal or appetizer at least 25 of those 35 days. Maybe more. I can't help it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Veggo

                  Steamed lobster
                  Shrimp and grits
                  Does Sausage and Seafood gumbo count??


                2. Growing up on the Gulf Coast and in/around New Orleans, my favorite seafood dishes feature the fare of that area.

                  #1 is Fried Shrimp. We’ve actually done dining excursions, where we sampled all the top restaurants’ fried shrimp. By “top restaurants,” I mean ones known for their fried shrimp. Unfortunately, the ultimate, is no longer available, as the restaurant and the cook, are both long gone.

                  #2 is Speckled Trout Amandine with a light Meunière sauce. Also, the best example of this is no longer available, as the chef retired to raise her family, but I still have dreams of this dish.

                  #3 is Pecan-crusted Soft-shelled Crab, á la Chef Michael Dagenhart. Chef Dagenhart is also gone from the now closed, Tante Louise restaurant, and soft-shelled crabs are not in season.

                  Unfortunately, you wanted these suggestions for your grand dinner, but did open the door, by asking for one’s “favorite seafood dish.” These are mine, and they are from about 55 years of eating world-class seafood, around the world.


                  1. Lobster stew
                    Baked seafood casserole
                    Stuffed Quahogs
                    Marinated eel

                    1. Don't know if this counts as a seafood dish: Paella. With *huge* shrimps. Had some in Spain a few years ago, never had any nearly as good since then.

                      1. Deep fried whole belly Ipswich calms. Served with lemon ketchup and tartar sauce and cole slaw. Best tartar sauce was at the No Name in Boston. Lots of pickles and less mayo in it. If I could be magically transported to that restaurant that's where I would eat my favorite sea food dish. Fried scallops and fried haddock come in second

                        For more healthy eating - Some high quality tuna sashimi and mussels cooked in red wine & garlic Italian style

                        1. grilled salmon
                          scallop sashimi
                          negitoro, with fatty tuna, green onions and a generous amount of wasabi

                          1. Well, Zool, you seem to be from the LA area. Spiny lobster is the local seafood delicacy and can be very good any number of ways. I've had it warm with melted butter; cold with house-made mayo; and thermidor style. Loved them all.


                            Or, you might go with coquilles St. Jacques - a fancy Parisian rendition of scallops with creamy sauce which look wonderful when baked in scallop shells. Julia Child has a recipe somewhere. Here's a recipe that looks do-able.


                            1. Zool, are you of Italian descent? Christmas Eve = seafood. Lobster, shrimp, calamari, scallops, stuffed clams. Christmas Day is usually like Thanksgiving.

                              I love good seafood, fry it, steam it, broil it, cream it, or eat it raw like sushi. If it's prepared well it will be my favorite at that moment.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MrsT

                                No, MrsT, we're a mix of Irish, German, and Central American ancestry...my father, the Irish/German, just got tired of having a grand turkey dinner two months in a row. That was the same year that we received a box of live lobster from a business associate of his, strangely enough. That began ten years of Seafood Fest! Who would've thought?

                                Thank you for all the great suggestions, especially those who tailored their responses to the Southern California area. I'll be sure to pore over the suggestions here and post the menu once we choose some dishes!

                              2. Crab Louis. With sourdough French bread, of course.

                                1. crawfish ettoufee...well I guess that isn't "sea" but it sho is good

                                  Chinese/Singaporean/Vietnamese style crab or lobster quick fry, like w/garlic, or pepper
                                  Vietnamese salt and pepper soft shell crab (cua rang muoi)
                                  pan fried seafood noodle
                                  squid rang muoi

                                  1. Grilled Salmon with a honey mustard glaze
                                    Cold peel and eat shrimp
                                    Crab legs (no butter)
                                    Lobster tail (no butter)

                                    1. cioppino, seafood lasagna.

                                      1. i LOVE fish when it is prepared whole. the presentation is gorgeous and the flavor is out of this world.

                                        right now my favorite dish is a recipe from epicurious.com called "steamed red snapper with asian flavors". very easy and soooo delicious!!

                                        1. In no particular order:
                                          Hot Crab Dip (this recipie is really, really good http://teriskitchen.com/appetize/crab...
                                          )Trout Almondine
                                          Bagels, cream cheese, and lox...maybe for brunch
                                          Scallop handrolls or any sushi really
                                          Mussles in White Wine
                                          Bellini with caviar (or lox) and creme fraiche
                                          seafood bouillabaisse
                                          seafood boil
                                          Steamed white fish with fresh ginger, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and cilantro

                                          1. Top Three:

                                            1 *Fresh* sea urchin. Sitting in the boat when the divers bring them up, you remove the beak, open them up a bit more, rinse them in the ocean, then eat the roe with a spoon. If they've been eating the right vegetation, they taste like fresh flowers. Great feast!

                                            2 Abalone. Simply rich and luscious, no matter how you cook them. I prefer pinks to blues, but there are no bad abs. Only too few today. Far too few.

                                            3 Toss up between sea cucumber and octopus. Sea cucumber is an animal, not a vegetable, and requires a lot of long, slow stewing, but it is delicious! My favorite way to cook fresh caught octopus is to tenderize the tentacles by whipping them against a hard surface, cut into segments, shake in a bag with highly seasoned flour and deep fry them. The head makes a great casing for any kind of seafood stuffing you'd like to fill it with.

                                            My husband was a scuba diver, and for years we lived in Del Mar, California, where I rarely bought protein at a store. Abalone, sea snails, keyhole limpets, scallops, mussels, octopus, squid. Everything but fish. He didn't like spear fishing. When we moved 600 miles inland for his new job, the shock of having to actually buy protein, and the total loss of *fresh* seafood was a terrible thing to endure.

                                            1. Shrimp & grits
                                              Seared tuna
                                              fried shrimp
                                              fried oysters
                                              steamed oysters
                                              oyster chowder
                                              she crab soup
                                              clam chowder
                                              fried soft shell crab
                                              crab cakes
                                              grilled grouper
                                              shrimp gumbo
                                              grilled mahi-mahi

                                              1. Dry Scallops seared in a hot pan over wild mushroom risotto.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jfood

                                                  George Costanza! I knew that was you! Ahhhh, and another of your seafood offerings....EXcellent!

                                                2. 1/2 shell wellfleet oysters with a squeeze of lemon
                                                  Rare salmon with small amount of good holladaise
                                                  butter poached lobster
                                                  anything halibut

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Its Still Mooing

                                                    shrimp remoulade. There are many variations. Search it and you will find many recipes. It makes a wonderful salad.

                                                  2. We always have paella on Christmas, overflowing with lobster, shrimp, cockles, mussels and chorizo. Other appropriate favorites include:
                                                    Smoked salmon-horseradish mousse
                                                    Raw oysters
                                                    Octopus salad
                                                    Mussels in red-curry broth
                                                    Skate a la meuniere
                                                    Roasted Chilean sea bass
                                                    Rellenong bangus (one of the most stunning fish preps I know: http://lafang.mikemina.com/index.php/...
                                                    )Cajun crab cakes

                                                    1. Go for the shrimp and grits! It's a classic and you can spruce it up a bit with fresh herbs or a fancy cheese. How about smoking some fish or making some conch fritters? Spicy tuna? Oh, the possibilities are endless! Have fun and let us know what you come up with!

                                                      1. Just plain steamed Dungeness crab with melted butter.
                                                        Mussels in a white wine broth with lots of garlic and excellent bread for moppage.
                                                        Not really SEAfood, but fresh lake perch lightly floured and sauteed in butter. Probably not doable in California but you never know
                                                        Shrimp tempura
                                                        Fried calamari in a spicy pepper sauce (ala diavolo)

                                                        1. An onion bagel with cream cheese and belly (salty) lox.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: BobB


                                                            Change onion to poppy, and belly to novey, and you got company at the meal. And this meal is 24/7, jfood can not think of any time day or night that he would not eat a novey on poppy w a schmear. :-)))

                                                          2. We always do our seafood on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, my family opts for the heart attack special....lobster/seafood neuberg in puff pastry shells (think multiple helpings). Its amaaaazingly good, but also amazingly bad for you. I guess that's why it's ok to do once a year :)

                                                            1. Seared scallops and sauteed shrimp (both of them together) in a Beurre Blanc with lemon and garlic over jasmine rice.

                                                              1. I love Shrimp Scampi, and I love grilled, broiled, or boiled shrimp dipped in a mixture of butter and Frank's Hot Sauce.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: breadbox

                                                                  Every holiday I make brandade de morue. It's a paste of salt cod, garlic, olive oil, and mashed potatoes with double cream. It is great as a side, main, or pre-meal dip. Unfortunately there is a Keller recipe for this using fresh cod. It won't have the same tangy flavour as salt cod.

                                                                2. Some of these are repeats.

                                                                  If you'd like another chowder: salmon with roasted corn and dill or tarragon.
                                                                  Fried whole clams (IOW, with the belly.)
                                                                  Bagels. I'm with jfood on poppy bagels; onion is good too. Again, with Nova lox, chive cream cheese, good tomato (& red onion if no chive cheese), or with fish roe (caviar or tobiko) instead of the lox.
                                                                  Smoked white fish wth sour cream ready to be smeared on or dipped in.
                                                                  New England lobster rolls -- got to be on top-split hot dog rolls pan browned in butter.
                                                                  Sunomono with octopus (a light Japannese salad.)
                                                                  Uni (sea urchin) Risotto with Seared Japanese Scallops; recipe on FN site.
                                                                  A way to keep shrimp straight when cooking is to skewer them length-wise before cooking; a neato presentation is to serve them that way as "lollipops".

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Richard 16

                                                                    I hope this doesn't come across as sounding judgemental. It isn't meant to be. But lately, I see more and more recipes for cooked sea urchin. I have never heard of eating it any way but raw, straight from the shell. It is absolutely delicious that way, and to me, cooking it sounds like cooking beluga caviar. I just can't wrap my mind around it. But my question is, first, have you ever had it raw and did you like it, and second, do you like it cooked better than raw?

                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                      I love raw uni; it's one of my favorites at a sushi bar. The recipe referred above stirs in uni at the end, and serves it with a fully raw piece on top.

                                                                  2. oijingo bokeum or nakji bokeum = stir fried spicy squid and octopus omggggg I love it when it's really really really spicy

                                                                    I also love korean style sashimi. Tender slices of flounder dipped in chili/vinegar sauce, wrapped with a huge sesame leaf (:

                                                                    I also love maeuntang aka spicy fish soup which is made with the leftover sashimi, and fish bones + lots of garlic, chile flakes, and chrysanthemum greens, and sesame leaves

                                                                    1. Zool, seems you've already got a good start. Why not satisfy EVERYONE'S pleasures with a gigantic Boullabaise. As you can see, boullabaise recipes are so varied SO MANY THINGS will work....actually almost anything that's available......

                                                                      Here in the South, we even toss broken up pieces of corn on the cob near the end of cooking time....so you're even adding a vegetable. Then you could just come up with a few other veggies, salads, and even a few trays of steamed things for those who just want to go on pickin' ;) I have even done boullabaise and added a few more exotic things like calamari and octopus chunks if your family will go for all that. Good luck! Serve in huge bowls, tons of bread, melted butter, and feast til you pop!

                                                                      1. broiled redfish with a béarnaise flavored with worchestershire, lemon, tarragon and papricka with parsleyed new potatoes.

                                                                        1. Cajun gumbo
                                                                          Extra large shrimp stuffed with crabmeat, sauteed in butter, with white wine and cream sauce
                                                                          Large shrimp sauteed in olive oil with chopped tomatoes, black olives and garlic
                                                                          Shrimp in cheddar cheese sauce with chopped tomatoes and jalapenos over white rice

                                                                          Enjoy your dinner - love the concept!

                                                                          1. Fried Ipswich clams are darned good, also steamers, and Faidley's (Baltimore) crabcakes are great. Beyond that I'd go to fresh shucked oysters, clams, and sushi. My mom makes shrimp scampi every year for Christmas eve and it's a big/easy favorite.

                                                                            1. On vacation in the caribbean == catch of the day!
                                                                              Nothing beats walking down to the beach / pier and snapping up fresh catch of the day. Well, okay, it is way better if the local restaurant has done this for me.
                                                                              Seafood == fresh. Who really cares what it was!
                                                                              All I want is firm flesh with a fresh neutral flavour, prepared quickly & simply.

                                                                              1. High Quality Toro (fatty tuna belly meat) or Hamachi (yellow tail)...you probably won't be able to find it though.

                                                                                I made that potatoe wrapped chilean sea bass dish I saw from Top chef (we have a julienner). It turned out pretty well, actually. The Chilean sea bass is very good fish to work with cause it's just yummy and fatty to begin with...and because the fish is so moist (read fat), it doesn't dry out as easily as others.

                                                                                Steamed clam/mussel dishes are good (in white wine and shallots broth or thai style---which I prefer...look for recipes at william sonoma)...good for parties, I think with good crusty bread for people to dip the bread in.

                                                                                Steamed flaky white fish (like red snapper or cod) chinese style (steamed on the serving plate then pour smoking hot peanut oil on the skin side to crisp the skin, then put down some ginger, scallions on the top, then pour light soy sauce over...pretty easy to make if you got a steamer).

                                                                                Shrimp Scampi is easy but probably hard to keep not-overcooked for party/fest type of situation.

                                                                                Grilled or pan seared Alaskan King Salmon. All you need is salt, pepper, and some lemon juice. It's just so good.

                                                                                1. I fixed blackened (coho) salmon a couple of nights ago, for the first time, and thought it was the best salmon I've ever tasted.

                                                                                  1. Any type of flatfish served Veronique. One of the first dishes my wife had that i cooked that she absolutely loved.
                                                                                    Trout. Grilled over an open flame.
                                                                                    Lobster. Just steamed. Drawn butter.
                                                                                    Steamers. Serve same as lobsters.
                                                                                    My wife's mom makes the following dish: Tiny clams in salted water. Add matchsticked ginger (rreally quite a lot). I can have buckets of it.
                                                                                    Perfect fish and chips: Not greasy. not heavy.
                                                                                    Mark bittman's clam chowder. You can keep the bookpaste stuff, leave me that silken masterpiece.

                                                                                    1. Alaskan King Crab
                                                                                      Grilled scallops
                                                                                      Shrimp scampi w/linguini
                                                                                      Shrimp quesedilla

                                                                                      1. stir fried salt and pepper prawn (head on).
                                                                                        steamed lobster.
                                                                                        baked clams in the scotto family tradition.
                                                                                        oysters on the half shell. blue points - lots of them.
                                                                                        steamed abalone in garlic.
                                                                                        baby bok choy in garlic sauce for a change of pace.
                                                                                        mussels in a herb/wine sauce. add some cajun sausage and stand back. crusty bread is mandatory.

                                                                                        we do some of this stuff over the course of the holidays. the bulk of it on christmas eve.

                                                                                        1. Have you ever considered gathering/hiring a passle of scuba divers to bring home Christmas dinner? If you dive, so much the better! One of the things I enjoyed when married to the scuba diver and living in San Diego, was knowing we were having a housefull of company for dinner the next day, but not knowing what I'd be cooking until the boat docked! Just a thought...

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                            agree. outside of the baby bok choy, everything else mentioned above is alive and kicking, so to speak, before eating/cooking.

                                                                                            deb and i are sailors. catching fish and cooking them up on the stern grill an hour or so later is pretty good. sailors and divers are mates.

                                                                                          2. Hello Zool! Your post came up during a CHOW search and I noticed you were a seafood lover from Los Angeles! I've been trying to locate a restaurant or seafood outlet in L.A. that serves Garfish. There used to be several in the South Bay (Inglewood - Hawthorne) that specialized in deep fried Southern Style dishes served with Mojo potatoes, but they have gone out of business. Would you happen to know of any that might still be serving this delicious combo?