From Belon (France) to Blue Point (New England), Sydney Rock (Australia and New Zealand), or Kumamoto (California), oyster varieties differ in size, brininess and flavour depending on their oceanic region. Have your fishmonger open the oysters for you or wear heavy gloves and use an oyster knife to pry the molluscs apart – right before serving. Dip each oyster into your favourite sauce or simply enjoy with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
To take a prawn cocktail from ho-hum to wow involves just a little more work on the part of the cook. Get the best flavour by starting with whole, head-on prawns and cook them yourself. Mix up classic cocktail sauce in a few seconds, then serve it all chilled.
Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand. Of the 1,000 varieties of New Zealand saltwater fish, the best known and most prized is snapper, a favourite of recreational anglers. You can also use yellowtail kingfish, red snapper or John Dory fillets in this marinated raw fish recipe, which is perfect for replacing a prawn cocktail or for serving over salad greens.
Add a little coconut to the batter and you’ve got a crunchy, exotic, crowd-pleasing appetiser like this one, adapted from a recipe by Paul Prudhomme. These disappear fast, so make more than you think you’ll need.
Colourful, delicious, and easy to make, these see-through wraps show off the ingredients. Serve with a dipping sauce for appetisers or a light lunch.
Famous in Baja California, these fish tacos have a delicate texture yet a hearty barbecue flavour. Enjoy them with a pitcher of Mexican beer or a frosty margarita.
With a cold beer and marinated cucumbers, this flatbread is delicious hot from the oven or at room temperature.
In the waters off Barbados, flying fish zoom out of the water and dive back in – an amazing sight that people in Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands also see. In Barbados, however, flying fish have become a national symbol and a distinctively flavoured dish.
Rich and toothsome, this elegant quiche makes a fabulous brunch or lunch. You can use miniature pre-baked tartlet shells to make bite-sized appetisers.
Simple raw fish recipes like this one allow you time to create a more interesting presentation. The small tortilla cones are easy to make. See the variations for even more colourful and interesting presentation ideas, like contemporary paintings on a plate.
In this new take on the classic recipe from Nice, all the star ingredients go on the plank, then they are served over fresh greens. Enjoy with a glass of chilled rosé and a crusty baguette.
With its silken texture and fresh flavour, thinly sliced gravlax makes a wonderful appetiser or first course with buttered brown or rye bread. Gravlax is a Scandinavian specialty of fresh salmon cured in a mixture of sugar, salt and herbs for a succulent finish. Gravlax freezes well for up to 3 months.
Thin slices of raw tuna, drizzled with a zesty sauce, make for a colourful and pleasing appetiser platter. Based on a raw beef dish named after the fifteenth-century artist Vittore Carpaccio and served at Harry’s Bar in Venice, tuna carpaccio looks as good as it tastes. Sashimi-grade indicates the freshest, best-quality fish meant to be eaten raw.
Along the southern Mississippi River, farmers have carved out catfish ponds in the heavy, clay soil. Farm-raised catfish has a cleaner flavour than river-caught. It also tastes great in this classic dish from the American South, usually served with cornmeal fritters known as hush puppies.
Australian slang for a barbecue, the ‘barbie’ lends a caramelised, slightly smoky flavour to prawns sizzled on it. Shellfish continue to cook for a minute or two after you barbecue them, so pull them off right before you think they’re done. To make sure the prawns get evenly cooked, thread them on the skewers without crowding.
In Mexico, ‘zarzuela’ means a three-act operetta that alternates between singing and speaking parts. It has given its name to this delicious, three-step dish that features fish and shellfish from both the Gulf and Pacific Coasts of Mexico.
This Mexican classic from the Gulf of Mexico gets its distinctive flavour from both fresh and brined ingredients. Another plus – it’s ready in minutes and perfect with a chilled Mexican beer.
This traditional comfort food dish from the Mediterranean uses dried salt cod, usually available at specialty grocery stores. Allow 48 hours to soak the salt cod. Serve with French bread.
Wrapping fish and its flavourings in banana leaves, then steaming, produces a tender, aromatic result. Fish fillets steam the quickest, but you can also do this with small, whole, cleaned fish – just allow 15 or 20 minutes more. You can buy frozen banana leaves in packages at Hispanic markets or in some supermarkets. Just thaw, cut to size and wrap the fish. If you can’t find banana leaves, you can use aluminium foil.
A barbecue-smoked salmon fillet, served on a platter, can be the eye-catching centrepiece of a brunch, lunch or casual get-together. This looks wonderful on a platter, garnished with thinly sliced lemons and fresh dill sprigs.
From the Pyrenees to the Cantabrian Mountains, the Basque people prefer the wild mountains. Their unique cuisine makes the most of the lamb they raise as well as the fish they catch.
Oily fish, such as bluefish and mackerel, benefit from a touch of vinegar and aromatic herbs, as in this recipe, which starts out in a cold oven.
Whole fish that are too small to grill, but too big to fry, work well with this traditional Italian oven method. They bake to a luscious, aromatic, crusty finish, so be sure to have lots of Italian bread to mop it all up.
With distinctive jerk seasoning, these whole roast fish take on the flavour of the islands. Scotch bonnet peppers are the hottest, so feel free to substitute jalapeño or serrano peppers if your tastebuds can’t take the heat. Dat good eat!
Baking seafood in parchment paper – along with aromatic herbs and flavourings – is a time-tested method that results in a moist, succulent dish, with little to no clean-up!
For a true taste of the Mississippi Delta, serve this colourful dish with cornbread.
Tender white cod and a maple plank – a fresh taste of New England with all the flavour of a beachside supper. The Onion Butter keeps everything moist as it cooks on the plank.
One of the classic dishes of Belgium served with frites and homemade mayonnaise, steamed mussels are easy to make and delicious to eat. Make sure you scrub away the ‘beard’ from each mussel. Discard any that are open before you steam them and any that don’t open after steaming.
Get a taste of Australia and New Zealand with this dish. Barramundi are now farm-raised in Britain, or you can substitute Tasmanian ocean trout, Arctic char, hake, haddock or monkfish – all medium-textured fish with great flavour.
For the best flavour, barbecue and eat oily fish like mackerel, herring, anchovies and sardines as soon after they’re caught as possible. A driftwood fire on the beach and a tangy finishing sauce of Dijon mustard, butter and lemon make the most of these delicious fish.
A spice caravan of flavour infuses this dish as it bakes. Serve it with a flatbread, such as pita or naan, warmed in the oven, or couscous to soak up all the juices.
A great dish for entertaining, this can be assembled ahead of time and doubled or tripled to serve a crowd. It has a flavour everyone loves.
Banana leaves, found fresh or frozen at Hispanic or Asian markets, lend a mild herbal flavour to fish while protecting the delicate flesh from the heat. Barramundi, native to Australian waters, are now farm-raised in the United Kingdom.
The most succulent crab cakes start with lump crabmeat, which is crabmeat in bigger pieces. Serve these with your favourite dipping sauce for appetisers, a light lunch or atop a salad.
Large, clean scallop shells – available at better delicatessens – make perfect ‘plates’ for this appetiser or first course.
Calamari – small squid – are so easy and quick to fry, it’s no wonder they’re on restaurant menus around the world. They taste wonderful with almost any kind of dipping sauce, so offer two or three when you entertain.
Hot smoked trout is fabulous. It has a smoky aroma, a delicate and moist texture and fabulous flavour. It looks wonderful when garnished with thinly sliced lemons and sprigs of fresh herbs. Use any leftovers in pâté, for breakfast with eggs or in sandwiches.
For many families, oyster stew is a dish served on a meatless Christmas Eve or other holiday. For the best flavour and texture, gently simmer the oysters for only a few minutes, so they do not become too tough.
Known as ‘finnan haddie’ in Scotland, smoked haddock is usually cold-smoked. This hot-smoked version, paired with luscious Hollandaise, mimics a classic French dish served at brasseries along the Atlantic coast.
Known as tom yum goong, this popular soup gets its sour flavour from both the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Both ingredients – plus fresh galangal and tamarind paste – are available at better grocery stores or Asian markets and can be frozen for future use.
The cuisine of Kerala, on the Malabar coast of southeastern India, combines subtropical foods with spices brought by Arab traders long ago. Known as fish aviyal, this easy curry is most aromatic served with Coconut Rice.
Long a dish signifying fine dining, lobster bisque takes time to make, but the rich flavour is well worth the effort.
Kedgeree, dating from British colonial days, is a brunch dish made with flaked, smoked fish, cooked rice, hard-boiled eggs, fresh herbs and a white sauce to bind it all together. Some people like to add a dash of curry powder. When made with hot-smoked fish, this dish is divine. Although smoked haddock is the usual fish for kedgeree, you can also use salmon, trout or whitefish.
The slight bitterness from wood smoke makes a fine counterpoint to the natural sweetness of scallops. Serve them on a bed of colourful pasta that is both sauce and side dish.
Serve this dish with crusty bread to mop up all the delicious juices. Colourful Romesco, a classic sauce from Catalonia, also functions as a vegetable in this dish.
Serve with a glass of chilled fino sherry to echo the marinade. Octopus needs high heat to cook quickly so it doesn’t get rubbery, so it’s best roasted or grilled.
Sip champagne while this dish roasts, then toast the good life. Serve this with crusty bread (or of course cake if you don't have any bread) to mop up all the juices.
Stir-barbecuing involves marinating foods cut into small pieces, then placing them in a perforated metal barbecue wok over a hot fire. You use wooden paddles or barbecue spatulas to stir-barbecue the food, giving it a great flavour at it cooks. Serve with steamed rice, if you like.
Sweet, meaty scallops continue to cook for at least a minute after you take them off the barbecue, so once they have a good, seared crust, they’re basically done. So don’t overcook!
Yabbies are Australian freshwater crustaceans, much like crayfish or lobster. Like lobster, you boil or steam them first, then add the flavour of the barbecue. Outside Australia, use jumbo prawns, spot prawns, langoustines or large crayfish.
Stir-fried fish and vegetables get a final flourish of fragrant orange oil to finish. Serve with rice, if you like.
Sweet, delicate fish meets deep, rich sauce in a taste marriage made in heaven. Smaller lemon sole, tilapia, turbot or flounder fillets work best because they’re flat and sauté quickly. For larger Dover sole or any fish fillet that won’t fit in a sauté pan, grilling is the better option.
As an appetiser with a dipping sauce, as a main course with malt vinegar or as a sandwich filling, these crispy, tender nuggets of fish please young and old alike.
Live crabs steamed in a flavourful liquid can be picked and eaten with melted butter right then and there. The picked meat can also be used in lump form in salads or crab cakes; flaked crabmeat is more suitable for dips and fillings. While it’s easy to steam crab, it’s more difficult to pick out the meat – that’s why crabmeat is expensive to buy already picked. But once you get the hang of it, you’re fine.
This Mississippi Delta recipe is easy to do. Fire up your barbecue. Slice the kernels off ears of fresh uncooked sweetcorn so they stay together in ‘planks’. Brush the sweetcorn and fish with oil and season with Cajun spices. Then smoke to a burnished goodness.
A jalfrezi is a type of curry in which marinated meat, fish or vegetables are fried in oil and spices to make a thick, dry dish. Since prawns tend to not have a strong flavour of their own, they are a perfect candidate to pair with the robustness of tomatoes, which makes them all the more succulent.
Couscous is often thought of as a grain, but it is in fact a tiny pasta. It's often used in northern Africa as a foil to spicy dishes.
Simple and satisfying, this curry uses only one frying pan and is ready in a matter of minutes.
In this traditional recipe the fish is braised until it practically falls apart, so you need to use a firm, fatty fish such as mackerel, sea bass or trout.
This is a delicious main course salad full of intense flavours and textures – a salad that is guaranteed to become a family favourite.
Fish is so quick and easy to cook and is wonderfully healthy, too. If you haven’t cooked it before, this is a great recipe to start with. The recipe provides both grilling and microwaving instructions. If you use a thicker piece of fish, such as halibut, you will need to add a couple of minutes to the cooking time. The classic accompaniment to this dish is wilted spinach and some boiled new potatoes.
This light Japanese broth is poured over tender ramen noodles (fine, quick-cooking wheat noodles) and topped with seared tuna to make a healthy and delicious meal.
This spicy fish dish, with the citrus flavours blending with the hot jerk seasoning, is colourful and bright, and delicious served with basmati rice flavoured with a little saffron.
This crispy oven-baked fish and chips recipe is a healthy and delicious reworking of a fatty favourite. Soak your sliced potatoes in water before cooking, then they will be even crisper.
Nutty, peppery rocket is a wonderful base for sweet, tender, grilled tomatoes and tuna in this light, flavoursome salad.
This fresh, zesty seafood salad is wonderful served on a bed of mixed salad leaves, with buttered wholemeal bread on the side.
These pretty, light, refreshing salads served wrapped in a slice of cucumber are stunning. They make a lovely starter for a posh dinner party or are fun to make with kids and so pretty they won't be able to resist them.
With or without a disco ball and dancing, any great party needs one nibble that is sure to please everyone, and this is it. Serve it with savoury biscuits, small slices of dark rye bread or toasted rounds of French bread.
This one-pot meal – cooked outdoors over a barbecue or indoors on the hob – conjures up summers at the seaside. Spread layers of newspapers over the table for the traditional (and easy) clean-up. Place the contents of the saucepan in the middle of the table and it’s all hands on deck.
Crudo is the Italian version of sashimi, usually made with thinly sliced raw fish, extra-virgin olive oil, a drizzle of lemon juice and fresh herbs. Like sushi, crudo offers a wealth of choices, so feel free to create your own version. Just make sure the fish is very thinly sliced and attractive on the plate. Sashimi-grade indicates the freshest, best-quality fish meant to be eaten raw.
Alder, a hardwood from the Pacific Northwest, adds a gentle woody flavour to the fish. The artichoke glaze, a built-in sauce, adds even more flavour while keeping the fish moist and delicious.