Seafood Charcuterie: Perfect for the Holidays
Its the most snackable time of the year! The holidays are meant for tasty treats and scrumptious appetizers and none are more delicious than seafood themed charcuterie platters.
Preserving meat and fish was once a necessity. Now these ancient culinary techniques are a hit food trend~dotting restaurant menus and holiday parties alike. Chefs have been flexing and expanding their charcuterie options by switching out the pork for better-for-you seafood. Even more palatable for the home cook, its easy to make!
Seafood for Charcuterie
There are a few standards for building a really impressive seafood charcuterie spread. First, of course, is picking your seafood.
Here are my favorites:
- crab (in shell or out)
- shrimp (in shell or out)
- mussels and clams
My platters usually feature three styles of seafood charcuterie: the spreadables, the pre-assembles and the top-ables. I usually pick about 2-3 from each style when making my platters, this way I am appealing to all tastes as well as providing delicious variety.
The Spreadables are usually my blended seafood spreads. We have an article that goes into this category, in depth, Seafood Spreads. If you would like a more robust account of making your own. But, in brief, these are the cream cheese based blends combining one or more from the seafood list above.
The Pre-assembles seafood charcuterie options are the little bits and bites. Think sliced cucumbers topped with gravlax, blue cheese stuffed cocktail shrimp, devils on horseback scallops or lobster ceviche in little endive cups.
The Top-ables are just glorious cooked or cured seafood pieces, served lightly seasoned and ready for dipping or topping. Think crab claws, shrimp cocktail, lobster pieces, mussels and clams on a half shell.
How to Make Gravlax
Gravlax are a quintessential seafood charcuterie item and making your own is a pretty easy (and delicious) process. When I make this simply cured salmon, I use it for many of my charcuterie styles (spreadables, pre-assembles and top-ables). Partnered with other delicious seafood charcuterie bites, the gravlax can be your centerpiece.
How to make Gravlax
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns (crushed)
- 2 lbs. salmon fillets (2 sides)
- In a medium bowl stir together salt, sugar, dill and crushed peppercorns until blended.
- Sprinkle 1/2 a cup of the seasoning blend into the bottom of a large glass casserole dish. Cut the fillets in half and arrange to fit inside the casserole dish. Top the salmon with the remaining seasoning blend, really packing it onto the fish.
- Cover with plastic crap and place a weight on top (I like to use my small plastic cutting board topped with cans from my pantry). Refrigerate for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours flip the salmon fillets over. Cover with plastic wrap, weights and return to the refrigerator for another 24 hours.
- Remove fillets from the refrigerator and rinse to remove any excess salt and pat dry with a paper towel. Keep refrigerated until ready slice thin and serve.
All fabulous seafood charcuterie platters need a couple of accoutrements. Here are a few of my favorites. When assembling my platters I usually pick about 2-3 to serve along side.
- grainy mustard
- cocktail sauce
- sour cream or creme fraiche
- pickled vegetables (red onions, cornishons, capers or fancy store bought mixed pickled veggies like asparagus or green beans)
- marinated or roasted peppers (spicy ones too)
- hard boiled eggs
Garnishes are much more than pretty platter decorations when it comes to seafood charcuterie, they serve a flavor function as well. Use as many as youd like!
- citrus (lemons, limes, oranges)
- fresh herbs (dill, tarragon, basil, parsley)
- microgreens or edible flowers
Scoops and Bases
Have all your bases covered
- crisp artisan crackers
- homemade crostini
- endive, baby romaine or baby bibb lettuce
- lavash, naan or pita
Buy Seafood Online-And spread the love!
All of the seafood listed in these seafood charcuterie tips are available at our online store. As we say, from shore to door, 3 days fresher than the grocery store-all of our seafood is delivered right to your door when you schedule it, guaranteed! Thats convenience you need, especially during the busy holidays.
About the author
Patterson Watkins is a professional chef with over 17 years of experience. With a robust career in restaurants, contract dining and catering (including 4 Summer Olympic posts preparing food for the athletes!) Patterson joined the Cameron's Seafood team at the end of 2018 to concoct some delicious recipes with our premium seafood items as the centerpiece.
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