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The Emmy Goes To: The Best Supporting Seafood Side Dishes
When the fish hits the table, it’s always the star of the show, and nobody can take their eyes off a beautiful spread of crab or oysters, either. But just like supporting actors at the big Hollywood awards show, when it comes to a great meal, the seafood side dishes deserve a moment in spotlight.
The good news is that our seafood goes well with a huge variety of vegetables and starches, so it’s hard to go wrong. But if you really want your dinner to shine like a statuette, there are a few things you can do. The same things that make for a good supporting performance by an actor help make the best fish side dishes: they complement the main and help to make it even more delicious, but also deliver big on flavor on their own.
As you plan a menu, you’ll want to look for specific seafood side dishes that pair well with your chosen entrée. Opposites attract: if the dish is crisp and bright, the best seafood side dishes will be soft and creamy. If the main is bold and flavorful, look for a seafood side dish that is a little plainer to help it shine.
For buttery, fatty fish like black cod or king salmon, you’ll want a seafood side dish that's crisp and acidic. Bitter greens like radicchio or frisée work well, but any crunchy vegetable dressed in a citrus or vinegar dressing works beautifully—or even mixed with a hearty grain like farro. For leaner fish like halibut, the best fish side dishes will be richer—creamed spinach or pea puree looks great and tastes even better.
Seafood side dishes for shellfish depend more on cooking method than the fish itself. For chilled crab, shrimp, oysters, look for soft lettuces like butter or little gem and for herbaceous sauces, like asparagus in salsa verde. For steamed mussels, clams, or shrimp, you’ll want starchy seafood side dishes that absorb the delicious liquid they give off—bruschetta, rice, pureed cauliflower, or roasted root vegetables all work well.
If you’re still not sure what to make, have a look at the perennial winner of this award ceremony: potatoes. When it comes to the best fish side dishes, any form of potato—mashed, fried, roasted, or sautéed—never lets the audience down.