If you’re like many Americans, seafood is making its way onto your plate more and more often these days. Studies show that Americans ate around 19.2 pounds of seafood in 2019, a number that’s been rising in past years. With helpful dietary benefits like omega-3s and essential vitamins, there’s a lot to love!
Of course, figuring out the ins and outs of seafood preparation isn’t always easy, and proper seafood seasoning isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. If you’re new to preparing fish and shellfish—or if you’d like to shake up your old habits—try these quick tips to upgrade your techniques!
1. Bring On the Acid
There’s a reason you’ll often find lemon as a complementary pairing with seafood dishes worldwide. Acid of any kind can help brighten the flavor of seafood and reduce strong or bitter tastes—which can help with intensely fishy flavors. In other words, adding a dash of citrus or vinegar can boost your flavor fast.
In addition, citric acid can even deodorize strong smells and help break down the proteins in seafood, aiding in digestion. In some seafood dishes, like ceviche, citric acid is the only component needed to “cook” the dish!
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix and Match Herbs
When it comes to flavoring your seafood, you can’t go wrong with virtually any herb combination. It’s true that there are a few traditional herbs that work their way into some of the best local seafood dishes around the world, like parsley or dill. However, experimenting with herbs and spices you love can be a great way to try new and unique flavor profiles!
Start out by trying a few common herbs used with fish and seafood, and go from there. You can also try out a variety of store-bought seafood seasonings, though most traditional blends will come with a mixture of things you may have on hand in your kitchen, like powdered garlic, thyme, and black pepper.
3. Top It Off With the Right Sauces
It might seem like overkill after you’ve put time and effort into finding the right seasoning, but seafood lovers know that the right sauce can elevate even the best dish. Tried-and-true sauces like tartar sauce pair well with virtually any fish, and tangy crab mustard is a great pairing for whatever seafood you’ve prepared. In addition, you can find plenty of unique sauces if you’re willing to venture outside your comfort zone, from mango salsa to ginger peanut sauce to cilantro lime crema.
Try It All to Find the Perfect Seafood Seasoning
At the end of the day, the best way to spice up your seafood seasoning habits is to try it all! Experimenting with diverse flavorings and textures can create unique dishes that you’ll love circling back to. Whether you’re cooking your own fresh seafood or mixing sauces for a favorite dish, don’t be afraid to venture outside your comfort zone.
Want more tips to help you improve your skills in the kitchen? Be sure to take a look at our other cooking guides for additional insights.