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Nov 12, 2011 04:42 AM

Thanksgiving [moved from SF]

I'm in Sydney, Australia.
We have been invited to Thanksgiving at an American friends.
Been asked to bring something. My wife doesn't eat meat but does eat fish.
Can anyone suggest a fish/shellfish course that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving.



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  1. If you're going to be in San Francisco, the answer is definitely Dungeness crab. For the sake of elegance you should probably crack and pick it at home to minimize the otherwise traditional mess at table. A simple Louis dressing or cocktail sauce on the side and some Romaine leaves is all that's required for accompaniment. If you're in Sydney, maybe some of those famous prawns would be good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: little big al

      Just a caveat to that. Yeah, if the dinner is in SF, Dungeness would be perfect. Outside this area it wouldn't happen. So if the OP is in Australia for the dinner, I wouldn't go running around trying to find a Dungeness crab.

      However, it gives me a few more ideas. A seafood salad might fit with a Thanksgiving dinner. Also a shellfish newburg might be a good option with whatever local lobster or crab is available. Thanksgiving is about heavy, rich dishes after all.

    2. Just to be clear, this friend and the dinner is in Australia? If so, the topic might be moved to another board.

      Fish isn't very Thanksgiving, so if that is what you are planning, I'd just go with something Australian. About the only thing I can think of is oyster stuffing, but I assume your friend has stuffing covered with the turkey.

      Did they assign you fish, or was that your idea?

      A Thankgsgiving fish tale

      If they assigned you fish, maybe a platter to pick on before dinner with cooked shrimp, raw oysters and other sort of fish like that ... whatever is good locally.

      An idea is that celery stuffed with cream cheese is something many do. Maybe mix the cream cheese with smoked salmon?

      Clearly I am stumped. Usually when fish gets mentioned at Thanksgiving, it is people who want untraditional and instead of the turkey they substitute a fish dish. However, that is the exception.

      So I googled and found this link

      The fish Wellington seems like the perfect dish to me ... very festive and special.It uses salmon pate ... so that might be another way to go ... just bring some fish pates.

      Another tale of fish at Thanksgiving

      The reaction I think is typically American ... "The idea of having fish on Thanksgiving shocked me. I knew most of the family loved fish, but did their temptation have to take over our Thanksgiving dinner?"

      It turned out ok, but of the recipes they offered, I think shrimp bisque might be the only one that would fit well.

      However, I'd bring along your own favorite fish dish. I'm just saying it isn't traditional here so there really aren't any usual American recipes. I've had many dinners with an international crowd and always enjoyed whatever dish they brought from their country to the Thanksgiving dinner.

      Thanksgiving is about getting together with loved ones and sharing a meal. As long as there is turkey, mashed potoatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, anything else added is fine.

      Just a warning ... when I have people from other countries over for Thanksgiving, the usual reaction is that a lot of what Americans serve on Thanksgiving can be bland. So be prepared.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Re "fish isn't very thanksgiving", I tried and failed to add to my original reply that the original feast was heavily lobster (homarus americanus) dependent. But otherwise of course, you are right.

        1. re: little big al

          Also at our home in Lynn,Mass. Big Big Al always made a large batch of scalloped oysters.

      2. Welllllll, this has many options. Do they want you to bring a main, side, appetizer,.....? Here in the Sates Thanksgiving staples are either turkey or ham for the main. Sides run the gamut of mashed potatoes, yams/sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauces, rolls, etc.. Dessert will usually have pumpkin, or apple pies. A search of CHOW for Thanksgiving dinners will pull up the usual suspects.

        I know Canada has a Thanksgiving (Oct 10) does Australia have one, or a similar day that you celebrate in this fashion? If so, I would say take a traditional Australian dish. I am not a huge Thanksgiving person myself- my main day is Halloween =), so I don't get hung up on "traditional" foods. It is more of a day for me to be with friends. This year i will be attending a Meetup orphans dinner that is in it's 7th year now. One of the hiking group members opens his doors to everyone who does not have a place to go on Thanksgiving. He cooks a turkey, and a ham (funny because Howie is Jewish) while everyone else is asked to bring a side, and a beverage of your liking. He will have 45-70 people come through the doors most years. Food will run the gamut of my made from scratch pumpkin pies ("traditional" I know) to tamales, or lumpia as we have members who are from all over. Don't worry about the food, just go and have a good meal, and fun evening with friends.

        1. Oyster dressing is the only traditional Thanksgiving seafood dish I can think of.

          1. Hi Everyone

            Thanks so much for your generous responses. Our friend, Lynn is doing Turkey and all the extras.
            It hasn't been finalised yet but I think the idea was that we would bring a starter or dessert or perhaps both.
            You have given me so many great suggestions. We do get awesome seafood here in Sydney and I was hoping to do something typically American, so something like scalloped oysters or lobster newburg sounds great. Then again Blue Swimmer Crabs are in season, maybe an Aussie version of Dungeness Crab?
            Australia doesn't do anything like this. Although we often have a BBQ on Australia Day. We are looking forward to helping our friends celebrate Thanksgiving!
            Thanks everyone. I will post the results.

            5 Replies
            1. re: julianwatt

              Another vote for an oyster dish. I'm not a fan of oyster dressing/stuffing, but "Scalloped Oysters" - a casserole - is a VERY popular Thanksgiving side dish here in the south. If you do a websearch, you'll find lots of different recipes for it - all of which can be easily put together with pre-shucked oysters. Just pick the recipe that appeals to you most. Good stuff.

              1. re: julianwatt

                You know what, I'd bring your favorite dessert. It'll be great, a good addition and may be a little Anglo or Oz centric which would be just delicious and charming and maybe a little exotic, certainly different from our pumpkin and apple pie. I think it would shine!
                Probably really great fruits that are out of season here in the Northern Hemisphere and let it rip. Even a gorgeous fruit tray would be delicious and refreshing with a couple of local cheeses.

                1. re: julianwatt

                  I don't think anyone would ever serve lobster Neuberg on Thanksgiving.

                  Traditionally there's no such a thing as a starter, just snacks such as salted nuts, chips and dip, Chex mix. All the food except the pie goes out at once.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Onion dip with Lipton soup and sour cream ... with chips.

                    But yeah, a newburg wouldn't be traditional. Not knowing the whole story other than seafood, it just seemed a heavy dish that might fit in if seafood was a requirement.

                    Thanksgiving is about comfort food, so a dish that is comfort food in Australia might work.

                    Even though Dungeness is more of a SF thing, those Blue Swimmer Crabs sound interesting.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Thanksgiving's not comfort food for me, I find it pretty weird, really.

                      It's the one day of the year modern Americans eat like 19th-century farmhands. Dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, and sweet potato pie, all in the same meal?

                      Plus all these weird dishes I never see the rest of the year: creamed onions, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole with canned fried onions ...