Summer Sides that Pair Perfectly with Wild-Caught Seafood

CATEGORY

Cooking + Recipes


Using Veggies to Craft a Complete Warm Weather Meal

Make the most out of your wild Alaskan seafood recipes by pairing them with seasonal sides this summer, whether you’re dining al fresco or enjoying dinner in the comfort of air conditioning. These side dish recipes take their cues from veggies that are at their peak — in terms of flavor, variety, and texture — in the height of summer when they’re in season, and they are the perfect counterparts to a variety of main dishes made with wild Alaskan seafood.

Here are our favorite recipe ideas inspired by all the juicy tomatoes, cool cucumbers and bountiful summer squash that summer has to offer: 

Tomatoes 

Vine-ripened tomatoes, freshly picked from a farm, are so delicious that you really could just slice them, sprinkle them with salt and olive oil, and serve on the side of any main dish of wild Alaskan seafood. But with a little extra effort, you could also make a side dish informed by the flavors that you’re looking to complement. 

Sticking with the Mediterranean theme, Bon Appétit’s updated Greek salad made from ripe tomatoes and high-quality feta is a natural accompaniment for a fillet of mild white fish like, for example, an oil-poached fillet of cod. Even if you’re landlocked in a backyard in the Midwest, this is the blueprint for a meal that will give you a whiff of salty sea breezes and have you imagining your backyard as an Aegean blue expanse.

A straightforward tomato gazpacho made from juicy tomatoes and good quality olive oil is a quenching accompaniment to something garlicky, like gambas al ajillo made with sweet spot prawns, or even a light afternoon meal of salty smoked sockeye on crispy flatbread. José Andrés’s gazpacho calls for the addition of a particular sherry to keep it super traditional, but if you don’t have that in your pantry, just substitute filtered water. 

Yotam Ottolenghi’s charred cherry tomatoes with cold yogurt is flavored by his signature complexity of spices. This could be the perfect side dish for seafood that you’ve marinated in Middle Eastern flavors, like Moroccan-inspired halibut skewers. 

Cucumbers

Get all the cucumbers you can at the market this summer, because they’re a great ingredient for side dishes that pair with seafood. Cool and crunchy, they contrast well with a variety of seafood main dishes.

A deliciously fatty fillet of miso sablefish would be balanced perfectly with this simple cucumber salad from Kian Lam Kho. The recipe has you using a simple salt brine to infuse cold chunks of cucumbers with flavor. Trust us, this is infinitely simpler than it sounds. Literally, you are tossing cucumbers with salt, letting them sit for about 15 or 20 minutes to let the salt do its magic, then draining the liquid that got pulled from the cucumbers in the process. All you do after that is add some minced garlic and sesame oil. 

Maangchi’s recipe for a spicy cucumber salad, something you might expect to find on a summer table laden with Korean banchan, skips the salt brine and goes straight to mixing up cucumbers with other flavorful components onion and chili flakes, as well as garlic and sesame oil. This side dish requires barely more time than it takes you to slice the cucumbers, and would be a great side dish for a gochujang-glazed fillet of sockeye. 

For a cucumber side dish to pair with a Mediterranean-inspired plate of lemon-and-herb grilled cod, for instance, Cookie and Kate’s cucumber-yogurt tzatziki served with pita means that you won’t need any cutlery to enjoy a fully decked out meal while chillin’ on your deck. Wild salmon also plays well with tzatziki, especially if you’re using dill to flavor both the yogurt and the fish. 

Zucchini  

Summer squash abounds this time of year; if you’ve planted it in your home garden, your plants are so heavily laden that you are practically begging your neighbors to take a basket of them from your front porch! Whether you’re trying to figure out how to use up this summer harvest or are the kind of person who simply can’t get enough zucchini, keep these recipes on your zucchini rotation to keep things interesting.

This easy side from Serious Eats for grilled zucchini topped with chimichurri would be a no-brainer to make if you’ve already whipped up a batch of chimichurri to top a grilled fillet of halibut or cod. Start the zucchini on the grill first so that they have plenty of time to get tender before you start cooking the fish. 

Fried and stuffed with a serrano-ricotta mix, this recipe for zucchini blossoms from Mexico in My Kitchen would be a yummy side to serve with a limey, raw ceviche or lightly battered fish tacos made with pollock or rockfish. Zucchini blossoms are best prepared shortly after being picked from the stem — they start deteriorating and becoming slimy within a few days — so time is of the essence when these are in your refrigerator. 

Ina Garten’s zucchini pancakes are super easy to make and are ready in under 30 minutes. We imagine eating these in the afternoon with herb-roasted salmon fillets. Our captain’s cuts of wild salmon are the perfect size to be informally sandwiched in between a couple of these zucchini pancakes.


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