With the exception of those states that line the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, our society isn’t generally into the seafood scene, despite what a healthy choice it can be, especially compared to some of the heavy dishes many of us enjoy.

So when you’re wanting to sample the “fruits of the sea,” (as the French call it) whether at home or on vacation on the coast, you may feel a little overwhelmed by your options. Let me tell you about a few of the items you can expect to see on your menu so that you can have a better idea of the flavors you can experience.

Varying kinds of crab is an essential element of any seafood restaurant’s menu. Dungeness crab is usually steamed or boiled, leaving out fat that can be added by other methods of cooking. It is generally described as having a soft, slightly sweet flavor. King crab comes in three varieties–golden, red, and blue–but the taste is similar. They are considered rich and slightly sweet.

Crab legs are often served as they are after they’ve been cooked; these are opened using a crab cracker. The meat can be removed with a small fork or with your fingers. Crab meat is also implemented into sushi rolls, bouillabaisse (a French or New Orleans-style seafood stew), salad, souffles, and other food items.

My favorite type of fish of all time is Pacific halibut. It is known for its extremely low fat content, making it extremely healthy, unless it is deep fried, of course. It is very rich and flavorful and therefore requires little extra seasoning. Its texture is similar to that of chicken, so if you’re exploring new seafood tastes but don’t want to try anything too exotic, a halibut filet is the way to go.

Mahi-mahi is a fish popular in the islands of the Caribbean and the United States. It is prepared in a wide variety of ways–grilled, baked, broiled, poached, or pan fried. Its flavor is less salty than some fish, having a mildly distinct taste–a little sweet. It’s known to taste more meaty, less fishy. Many people who otherwise don’t enjoy seafood often remark that they enjoy mahi-mahi.

Prawns are another staple on seafood restaurants’ menus. These are different from shrimp, with a flavor closer to that of lobster. They are often served as part of an appetizer and can be marinated just like shrimp, though again, the end result still yields a different taste.

The dishes I have listed are just a few. When you get to the restaurant, be open to the possibilities. I like to think of sampling new foods as an adventure. It can be for you, too.

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