If you’ve ever tried to prepare a seafood recipe at home based on a dish you enjoyed from our menu only to have it taste entirely different than what you expected, it could be the side dish you served with it.
Side dishes always seem like an afterthought. Even when you’re dining out they don’t appear to carry much weight in the decision making. It’s common to look at them as a separate item altogether which often leads to ordering without considering the flavors in the main course. In high-end restaurants like ours, there is usually a list of sides that will compliment or contrast with the main menu items so that your seafood tastes delicious no matter what you order. Once at home in the kitchen you might not remember which side dish you chose or what role it played in bringing out the flavors of the dish. Here are three rules to follow when preparing a side dish at home.
The Right Starch
In recent years, starches like potatoes and rice have gotten a bad reputation, but in moderation they’re good for you and there is a reason why they make a good side dish with seafood. When it comes to flavor, a complete meal is supposed to be comprised of mild, sharp, strong, and sweet tastes. For example, the mild flavor of a baked potato is perfect for our Surf and Turf entrée. It’s just the right balance between the briny Florida lobster tail and the savory beef while our sweet potato fries are a delectable treat with broiled snapper or salmon. The rule when choosing a starch is to decide which one will create the best balance for your meal.
You can never go wrong when you choose steamed vegetables, but sometimes you want a little more texture and perhaps a sharp accent to set off the main course. Serving creamed vegetables or veggies with a Hollandaise sauce will largely depend on whether or not your appetizer or main course contains a creamy item. If you serve New England clam chowder before the meal or the main course is Seafood Alfredo, you’ll want to stick with the steamed vegetables. If the richness of a creamy entrée or appetizer is absent from your menu, a side dish like creamed spinach will complete your seafood dinner.
Salads and Desserts
Salads and desserts aren’t true side dishes, but they are an important part of the overall meal. When served between the appetizer and main course, a salad is used as a palate cleanser. The distinct contrast between the flavors helps remove the taste of the previous item and prepares your taste buds to accept the full flavor of the next course. Desserts are meant to finish the meal. Since most main courses aren’t accompanied by many sweet sauces, the dessert rounds out the meal. Both salads and desserts are great additions to your seafood dinner!
Don’t forget that fresh fish makes a big difference in the quality of your meal so the next time you host a party, stop by and pick up some seafood at our market!