Seafood is well-known for its health benefits, but the recent trend towards healthier foods may have caused you to overlook that it also can be more than a little delicious. With centuries of seafaring cultural polish on many seafood dishes, you have an entire world of perfected fish entrées to choose from – but here’s the cream of the crop.
Humble Fare for Humble Tables
The Southern crab boil or crab bake includes much more than just crab, although fresh crab is the centerpiece of the dish, and most likely the most expensive ingredient (unless, like some Southerners, you caught it yourself). Along with copious helpings of butter, corn on the cob, skins-on potatoes, smoked sausages and perhaps a little more spice than you can handle, boiled crab is transformed into a dish fit for dumping on any newspaper-covered table. The casual atmosphere is a large part of the appeal of the crab boil, which is eaten largely with specialized skewers and one’s own fingers.
Getting Ceramic Involved with a Pot of Delicious
Moqueca is a Brazilian stew, both hearty and refreshing, that incorporates flavor combinations particular to that country, such as palm oil and coconut milk. Although the seafood, which may vary from sword fish to prawn, holds the stew together, tomatoes and onions add bulk to the dish, while garlic and coriander give it the zest to stand out on your tongue. The pot traditionally is made of terracotta, which allows for even distribution of heat and even sweetens the tomatoes.
When Fresh is Best
Japanese sashimi is what many Westerns incorrectly refer to as sushi: expertly-prepared, uncooked seafood, often accompanied by dips like soy sauce. Obviously, home preparation isn’t recommended for most of us, but many specialty restaurants both inside Japan and outside it are known for their artistic presentation of sashimi with the highest quality cuts. Tuna, salmon and mackerel are particularly popular, but you also may want to try more exotic choices, like uni (the sea urchin). Even caviar can be considered a subset of sashimi.
Senator Webster’s Favorite
‘Scrod’ may not sound especially appealing until you know what it actually is: a bisected and de-boned white meat fillet, commonly of haddock or cod. Parmesan-encrusted scrod is a classic New Englander’s dish, equally suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. As an upscale version of a traditional fish and chips style meal, scrod remains highly accessible and low in price, but still suitable for fine dining. Available from a seafood restaurant in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania all the way up to Maine, scrod is being added to more and more menus. Earlier usages of the term ‘scrod’ also carried the implication of fresh, high-quality meat, which many restaurants still make use of to this day.
These samples may exemplify how differently diverse cultures treat their seafood, from the newspaper-covered dining table to the most ornately-decorate porcelain, but further adventures still await – and are left as an exercise to the reader. The good news is that none of these examples are out of range of anyone’s wallet, particularly if you’re lucky enough to live near one of the world’s many coastlines.
Information credit to Calabria’s, calabriasnorthstclair.com