Try these tips for a holiday seafood feast

If you’d like to prepare a seafood feast of your own, here are some ideas!

Cristen Clark's favorite holiday food traditions include some not-so-traditional ones, like a seafood feast. Cristen Clark, Special to Agweek

The holiday season packs a punch when it comes to fabulous food and wonderful family time. We find ourselves at multiple family gatherings during the week of Christmas and my favorite food experiences are the not-so-traditional ones.

My husband’s family celebration we attend is exciting because there are always new foods and new recipes each year. Everyone brings their favorite fresh seafood along with ingredients and a recipe to prepare it and a side dish. At the party everyone pushes up their sleeves and helps prepare a unique seafood feast. Cooking with family and friends adds an extra level of fun to any party! However, cleaning up after this party is not quite as fun. There have been some clear-cut winners at our family seafood feast in the past. Fried calamari steaks with various seafood sauces and grilled white fish with fresh fruit salsa come to mind when I recall my favorites.

If you’d like to prepare a seafood feast of your own, here are some ideas!

Fry up appetizers and children's entrees at the same time.


The children always seem to enjoy a fried entrée, so while the adults fry up the appetizers we also bread and fry some delicately flavored white fish or strips of tenderized pork loin. It is easy to whip up homemade tartar sauce for the fish, if you happen to forget some at the grocery store! Here’s a recipe:

Ingredients for Tartar Sauce for the Fish:

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup finely chopped dill pickles

1 tablespoon fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried dill

1 tablespoon finely minced sweet yellow onion

2 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 tsp vinegar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


A pinch of sugar

Next up, a lighter, grilled or baked entrée.

For an entrée the adults will love, bake or grill fish, shrimp or scallops with a bright acidic glaze, marinade or salsa to accompany the dish. This will delight the senses and awaken taste buds. Usually these main dishes pair wonderfully with a crisp white wine.

For a rich flavorful complement, try scampi or alfredo.

Seafood alfredo is always a crowd pleaser and a little goes a long way! If you’d like to add some vegetables, toss in quickly sautéed peppers and broccoli along with caramelized onions and roasted garlic to take alfredo or scampi dishes to the next level. Alfredo sauce can be made ahead of time and warmed up as seafood and vegetables cook. Simply toss together and add a bit of hot pasta water to loosen and heat the sauce prior to serving.

Vary the cooking methods.

When working with limited kitchen space and many sous chefs it is important to vary cooking methods to ensure there is plenty of room to share. Think about grilling, baking, frying, stovetop cooking, chilled and make-ahead recipes to keep things moving right along and busy bodies happy!

Cristen Clark lives on an Iowa farm where her family raises corn, soybeans, pigs and cattle. She loves cooking and writing, and sharing contest winning recipes with people she knows. She can be reached at or at


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Cristen Clark

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