Outdoor dining season has begun here in Austin, Texas, and there’s nothing I like better than sitting outside with my wife after dinner, listening to music and watching my daughter play.
What we eat on these nights tends to vary, but seafood dishes are among my favorites in the spring. They’re light, fresh and pair well with the delicate fruits and vegetables in season this time of year. The non-negotiable is a loaf of crusty bread for sopping up all the broth and seasonings in your dish.
Besides complementing the abundant spring produce, seafood is the perfect al fresco meal to serve family style. Enjoy it on the patio with your favorite ale or seasonal fruit sangria, and share the love with friends.
If you’re planning to serve seafood dishes this spring, here are my top three recommendations not to be missed.
This is a Spanish rice and seafood dish using mussels, shrimp, and other shellfish in a tomato base with paprika and saffron. It’s easy to use different kinds of shellfish in this one, but any variation is filling and makes for plentiful serving sizes. I prefer a shallow carbon steel pan for cooking perfect paella.
Everything but the kitchen sink gets thrown into a pot of this hearty French seafood soup (pronounced boo-yah-bess). Whitefish and shellfish are the stars of the show, and the broth practically sings with bay leaf, fennel, tomatoes and potatoes. It’s traditionally served with croutons and rouille sauce (they say bouillabaisse without rouille is like Marseille without sunshine).
Mussels in White Wine and Garlic
This sophisticated trifecta is like a seaside vacation in your mouth. The flavors are aromatic, complex and never disappoint. And it’s easy to cook! Just bring a dry white wine and garlic to a simmer, then add mussels and cook until the mussels have opened. Add a dash of herbs, butter and a lemon wedge, and you’ve got yourself a meal.
These must-try seafood dishes, and many more, make regular appearances on menus for our personal chef clients. Contact us to have us make your meals perfect for al fresco dining season.
Do we already cook for you? Let us know if you have a special seafood request.