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7 Herbs and Spices to Pair With Seafood

Is eating healthy New Year's resolutions? Well, fish is full of protein and antioxidants that are essential to a healthy diet, but why not spice things up a bit? Instead of the same old recipes that you always use, why not try something different and flavorful? Here are seven herbs and spices that pair surprisingly well with all kinds of seafood.

1. Lemongrass
For shellfish with an Asian twist, try using lemongrass with lobster or crab in soups, broths, or pho. The light and fruity essence of this stalky-herb pairs well with the inherent sweetness of ocean-fresh seafood, particularly shellfish. You can also use lemongrass when poaching or finishing your dish, as it brings depth of flavor to your fish marinades, stocks, and sauces, too.

2. Sage
When you think of sage, you might think of Thanksgiving. Sage is an herb that is typically used in poultry dishes, like turkey stuffing or chicken pot-pie. However, sage also works well with a firm, full-bodied fish, like trout, flounder, or swordfish, to bring an earthy and rustic taste to your dish. Try sautéing fresh sage with butter and using it as a finishing sauce to your broiled, grilled, or poached fish.

3. Mint
You might not think of putting fresh mint in a fish dish. But mint actually pairs well with arctic char or orange roughy, both full-bodied and sturdy fish that can hold-up to an acidic marinade. Mint provides a flavor that can stand up to citrus and other strong flavors, creating a cohesive and tasty base for many different proteins, including fresh seafood!
Use mint as a component of a cooling-element when serving spicy, blackened fish, or use it to accent the smoky flavor of a grilled fillet, such as in a cool, creamy dressing or sauce.

4. Basil
Basil is another herb that goes well with the delicate flavor of fresh seafood. Try an Italian preparation of a firm fish, like mahi-mahi or sole, and poach the fish in crushed tomatoes and garlic. Finish by tearing fresh basil leaves and serve over rice or pasta for a light and satisfying meal.

5. Cinnamon
Cinnamon and fish might not seem like an ideal combination, but cinnamon can add a smoky, exotic flavor to a dish or protein, including an Indian-inspired tagine using halibut and fresh tomatoes. While the delicate flavor of most fish could become lost in the bold, Indian spices, halibut has a sweetness that pairs well with these flavors. Halibut is mild but firm and filling, so it is the perfect fish for a wide-range of flavor profiles.

6. Tarragon
Try the unique flavor of tarragon with lobster, prawns, or crawfish, in stews, stuffings, and chowders. Tarragon has an intriguing, multi-dimensional flavor and can be an unexpected surprise in dishes that might ordinarily use parsley, cilantro, or thyme instead. Try adding a bundle of fresh tarragon sprigs in the cooking liquid when steaming or boiling shellfish, or add fresh tarragon to baked shellfish before serving. 

7. Anise
Anise is an herb with a strong licorice flavor, often used in baking or sweet preparations. But licoricetasting anise also pairs well in some cod recipes, creating a unique flavor profile when combined with the saltiness of the fish. Use anise when stewing fish or sauté with the filling in baked or stuffed fish recipes for an experience that your guests will never forget.
Try these unexpected herbs the next time you serve seafood. Bring something different to the dinner table with one of these flavorful meal ideas, and treat your family, friends, and guests to the healthful benefits of fresh seafood. And make sure to buy only the freshest fish and shellfish from Vince's Shellfish Company.