Seafood Recipes That Are Great Options for Entertaining

seafood in fennel broth
Photo: William Abranowicz

These elegant seafood appetizers and entrées include both fish and shellfish dishes. From simple sautéed sea bass and grilled halibut steaks, to clams and white fish in a gorgeous carrot-saffron broth and sea scallops with pasta, we're sharing a number of our most impressive seafood recipes perfect for your next dinner party.

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Black Sea Bass with Capers and Herb-Butter Sauce in large pan
Ryan Liebe

Serve seafood at your next meal that brings together hungry friends and family, and make it the appealing focus of the shared table. Why should you serve snappingly fresh fish, like the plump fillets of sautéed seabass pictured here, and crustaceans, both freshwater and salt? There are two compelling reasons: They are delicious, and they are good for us.

But there are many more reasons to entertain with these proteins: Fish and shellfish tend to sit more lightly in our tummies than their land-based, grazing brethren because their proteins are easier to digest—we rise lighter from a fishy table. Wild-caught mollusks and fish tend to be seasonal, and that's especially true if you like to shop locally and sustainably. There is something intrinsically satisfying and celebratory in knowing that you are enjoying a food whose season is fleeting. And for farmed fare (like salmon and branzino), it is reassuring to know that your favorite way of preparing them is unaffected by the time of year.

Visiting your local seafood and farmers' market is always an education in what is available locally (and when), and instant connectivity makes checking the sustainability of a particular catch or briny crop a cinch. If that's not an option for you, we recommend Monterrey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, to check on what seafood options are most sustainable at your local grocery store.

From a refreshing salad of raw Arctic char "cooked" simply in citrus juice and grilled oysters drenched in brown butter the most simple, seared fillets of sole and a satisfyingly ample pot pie of salmon, here are our top pescatarian picks to feed a crowd deliciously.

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Arctic Char Carpaccio with Beets and Citrus

Arctic Char, Beet, and Citrus Carpaccio in white blue trim bowl
Ryan Liebe

For a light and vivid appetizer nothing is as easy as a quick carpaccio, where the acid of citrus "cooks" and infuses raw fish with bright flavor.

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Grilled Oysters with Compound Butter

Grilled Oysters with Compound Brown Butter
Paola + Murray

Ready in minutes, simple and celebratory oysters turn creamy when grilled and dressed with nutty brown butter.

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Hot Crab and Oyster Dip

hot crab and oyster dip
Mikkel Vang

This creamy dip is so good you may want to offer individual portions: melted cheese and tangy crème fraîche envelop sweet crab and salty oysters—a kick of horseradish to pulls it all together. Crusty bread? Yes!

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Clams and White Fish in Carrot-Saffron Broth

Clams and White Fish in Carrot-Saffron Broth recipe
Lennart Weibull

For an intimate night in, serve this comforting stew loaded with tender white fish, succulent clams and the earthy warmth of saffron.

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Sole Meuniére


Fillets of sole cook very quickly before being dressed with a classic caper butter. To feed a table of four, simply double the recipe (you'll need two large sauté pans).

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Salmon and Spinach Potpie

salmon spinach pot pie
Con Poulos

Substantial salmon paired with spring spinach is the perfect filling to discover under a flaky puff pastry crust.

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Smoky Shrimp and Sausage Gravy

bayou la batre shrimp-and-sausage gravy served on a black plate
Con Poulos

Whether you make individual servings or offer these shrimp as a rustic main course, it is the gravy that sings in this quintessentially Southern dish. Mop it up with hot biscuits.

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Seafood with Fennel Broth

seafood in fennel broth
William Abranowicz

Cooked quickly in a blazing oven, paprika, cumin and coriander infuse this celebratory dish of fish with an intense depth of flavor.

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Bottarga Pasta

Krause, Johansen

For a party-worthy meal ready in 10 minutes, umami-packed bottarga pushes a bowl of top-quality pasta over the edge of perfection. Use a microplane to make the most of the salty roe.

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Sea Scallops over Shallot-Herb Pasta

sea scallops over herb shallot pasta on a wooden tabletop
Elizabeth Cecil

The famous, buttery sweetness of sea scallops is emphasized by grilling in this hunger-sating linguine dish made pungent by shallots and two whole cups of fresh herbs.

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Flounder in Parchment

Flounder en Papillote with Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms on decorative plate
Ryan Liebe

What is it about fish gift-wrapped in parchment? The aromatic and escaping steam—perfumed with shiitake and white wine—is part theatre, part promise. Tuck in.

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Roasted Branzino with Lemon and Thyme

Whole-Roasted Branzino with Lemon and Thyme on plate with lemon wedges and silverware
Ryan Liebe

The simplicity of a whole roast fish is timelessly rewarding. All you need is the essential lemon and fragrant thyme for a gorgeous platter ready in under 30 minutes.

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Grilled Halibut Steaks

grilled halibut steak potatoes olives onions
Christopher Testani

As the weather warms, the grills calls. Transfer your just-cooked, searing-hot halibut quickly from the grill to the herbal vinaigrette to allow it soak in all that sharp goodness, vibrant with oregano.

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