Seafood Dishes to Serve at Christmas

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Fresh whole American lobster is always a suitable dish to serve over the holidays. American lobsters can be purchased in a variety of sizes, depending on the serving method. For seafood feasts, small lobsters can be served whole. When serving whole lobsters, a good guideline is to choose (1)1.25-2 pound lobster per person. Other serving ideas include obtaining several large lobsters and then assigning a family member to separate and serve portion of these delicious shellfish. Lobster meat can also be served in salads, in lobster bisque or in other recipes.

Atlantic haddock is another delicacy from the North Atlantic. Harvested by Canadian, American, Icelandic and Scandinavian and British fishermen, these delicious fish provide mild white meat that is perfect for frying, baking or other cooking methods. In some parts of the world, haddock is an important ingredient of traditional meals. These include famous dishes such as British fish and chips and the Scandinavian dish “finnan haddie”.

Smoked salmon is always popular during holiday get togethers. Smoked salmon lens itself to a wide range of appetizers such as lox, salads, spreads, chowders and other recipes. This healthy fish can also be served as a main dish, either baked, broiled, grilled or in combination recipes.

Sea scallops are an excellent option for Christmas or other holiday dinners. These succulent shellfish are available from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America as well as the Northeastern Atlantic and North Sea. Large sea scallops are available fresh or individually quick frozen, a process which seals in their delicate flavor. Sea scallops can be grilled, steamed or fried. A popular serving method that is popular at Christmas is done by wrapping scallops in bacon and broiling them on a wooden skewer.

Shrimp are always a favorite food at holiday meals. Small shrimp are useful for holiday party dishes such as shrimp salads or dips. Medium shrimp can be purchased pre-peeled, boiled and then served chilled with cocktail sauce. Jumbo shrimp make an excellent main dish, either grilled, broiled, fried or stuffed.

Blue crab meat is frequently served at Christmas. This delicious seafood is available from southern ports or summer harvested meat is available in pasteurized containers. Crab meat is usually served as an appetizer, in dips, crab balls, soups or other recipes. Crab meat can also be a main course, served as crabcakes or as in important ingredient in stuffed jumbo shrimp.

In the United States and many other nations, oysters are often served with Christmas dinners. They are served as oyster stew, stuffings, casseroles or other recipes. They are also served single fried or in oyster fritters. In some areas they are also served raw on the half shell with lemon, hot sauce or other sides. Oysters may also be steamed or roasted and served over the holidays.

Clams are sometimes served at holiday meals. Depending on the region and tradition, clam dishes may vary widely. In New England, clam dishes might include clam chowder or fried soft-shelled clams. Further south, in the Mid Atlantic region, littleneck quahog clams are served steamed, in large numbers. Slightly larger quahogs are sometimes served raw on the half shell. Chowder clams, the largest of all quahogs, are chopped and made into chowders or fritters.

Blue mussels are served around the northern hemisphere during Christmas and other winter holidays. Mussels are inexpensive and easy to store and prepare. Blue mussels are available from most local markets either live, frozen or canned. A few areas offer wild caught mussels while a much larger segment of the market offers high quality farm raised mussels. Farmed mussels are sustainable, uniform and available year round. Blue mussels are popular in Mediterranean dishes such as mussels with pasta and ciopino. As an appetizer, mussels can be served hot in the shell, either as is or topped with cheese, spices or other flavorings.

Snow crabs are caught by American, Canadian and other northern fishermen, then processed and packaged for worldwide markets. These delicious crab legs are often found at holiday parties or other festive occasions. They are served hot, with butter, cocktail sauce, crab seasonings or other spicy condiments. Snow crab legs are available frozen at seafood markets or grocery stores. Gourmet quality crab legs are also available online, shipped on ice from Alaska or other areas.

Originally published: November 28, 2010.

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