These seven seafood recipes, from classic shrimp cocktail to a grilled salad Niçoise and a dish of lemony halibut, will help take your culinary skills up a notch as you discover a new world of tempting possibilities. And what better way to enhance your dining experience than with wine? Carry on.
Curried Sea Scallops
This easy seafood recipe brings forth the bright colors and flavors of curry while incorporating a somewhat unexpected ingredient: scallops. If you find yourself without some of the spices needed for the curry blend, simply replace them with a mixture of pre-made curry powder. Pair this dish with coconut, basmati, or jasmine rice, and serve it alongside spinach sautéed with garlic, onions, and a touch of nutmeg for a complete meal.
Wine pairing: Chardonnay pairs naturally with scallops, as its soft oak profile and creamy mouthfeel complement the bivalve’s firm texture and sweet flavors. The wine’s buttery notes also work with the rich and spicy elements of the dish, while its acidic qualities and fruitiness help cut through the curry’s intensity.
Classic Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp cocktail is a classic seafood recipe featuring chilled, cooked shrimp with a zesty dipping sauce that traditionally includes ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, and seasonings. Preparing it at home is simple: First, brine the shrimp for optimal texture and flavor, and then gently poach them and serve with the homemade sauce. This attention to detail ensures a standout dish that makes an elegant starter for celebrations and gatherings of all kinds.
Wine pairing: Rosé wine marries the richness of red with the liveliness of white. And its adaptability and association with warm-weather dining make it ideal company for shrimp cocktail. Red fruit notes in the wine enhance the shrimp’s sweetness, while the hints of citrus harmonize with its mild flavors. Plus, the wine’s high acidity makes it the perfect match for the tomato-based sauce.
Crab Cakes with Lemon Aioli
The key to an exceptional crab cake is an abundance of crab meat. That’s because, beyond the star component, this beloved seafood recipe requires just a few common ingredients: breadcrumbs, eggs, mayonnaise, and seasonings. These are combined and then shaped into patties, and pan-fried or baked to achieve a crispy exterior and tender, flavorful interior. This recipe also features a lemon aioli, a creamy sauce that adds a special citrus-like dimension to the dish.
Wine pairing: Sparkling wine is the ultimate choice here. Its high acidity complements the dish’s richness while cutting through the creaminess of the aioli. And let’s not forget the citrus notes, which join forces with the lemony sauce to create a perfect marriage. And those bubbles? They work like magic to cleanse the palate. Cheers to this perfect pairing!
Smoked Salmon and Spinach with Orzo
Elevate your dinner routine with this delightful pairing of smoked salmon and orzo, a workhorse ingredient that resembles rice grains (although it is actually a pasta!) and is commonly used in soups and casseroles. And the rich, buttery flavor of salmon perfectly complements the earthy, subtly bitter notes of fresh spinach in this dish.
Wine pairing: Pinot noir has emerged as a popular accompaniment to salmon. This wine boasts subtle notes of red fruits and earthiness, harmonizing with the fish’s protein-rich texture and smoky and savory flavors. Additionally, the wine’s moderate tannins contribute depth to the pairing, melding with the mild bitterness of the spinach.
Lemony Halibut with Greens
This hearty seafood recipe, featuring lemon juice, shallots, parsley, and greens pureed into a vibrant green sauce, embodies the essence of spring. If you can find purslane, a wild green that is a potent source of omega-3s and has a mild tangy and salty flavor, try using that in place of the Swiss chard, spinach, or kale. The white beans add heft, creating a lovely bed for the firm white fish to rest upon.
Wine pairing: Medium-textured, subtly flavored, flakey white fish like halibut goes well with a medium-bodied wine with high aromatics, good acidity, and a clean finish. With its tropical aromas of pineapple, peaches, and grapefruit, sauvignon blanc meets all those criteria. It’s also a superb match for this dish due to its acidity and citrus notes that will amplify the delicious lemon flavors of the sauce.
Grilled Tuna Salad Niçoise
Salad Niçoise, hailing from the Provence region of southern France, is a “composed” salad with individual ingredients gracing the plate, all ready to be combined to the eater’s preference. Traditional components include tomatoes, canned tuna or anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and seasonal vegetables, all delicately dressed in vinaigrette. This seafood recipe features lightly seared albacore tuna loin medallions instead, highlighting the adaptability of this dish.
Wine pairing: In sunny Provence, rosé is the classic companion to this salad. This versatile wine seamlessly merges the robustness of red with the vibrancy of white, making it an ideal partner for the vast spectrum of flavors present in this dish. More specifically, the rosé brilliantly enhances the tuna’s rich and meaty characteristics, and its high acidity mirrors the brightness of the tomatoes, ensuring a vivid and well-rounded pairing that truly shines.
Salmon Burger with Cucumber-Mustard Dill Sauce
Salmon burgers are an excellent way to savor the richness of this nutritious fish. These burgers, infused with the freshness of herbs, are a speedy and tasty meal that you’ll find enjoyable with or without a bun. The zesty and herbaceous sauce also elevates poached salmon, in case you were not getting on board the burger train.
Wine pairing: Pinot gris thrives in Oregon, so it’s no wonder it pairs wonderfully with Pacific Northwest salmon — it’s a culinary match made in heaven. What’s more, the wine’s lush texture and hints of pear make an ideal match for mustardy glazes, while the citrus and vegetal undertones complement the cucumber and dill elements. Plus, the wine’s refreshing acidity balances the salmon’s richness and the tang of the sauce.