At Home or on the Boat, Enjoy a Seafood Feast this Holiday Season
Here on the west coast of BC, we have a healthy appreciation for all things seafood. Dungeness crab, spot prawns, halibut… we’ve got it all and so many of us just love a great meal of locally sourced seafood.
Because shellfish and fish of all varieties can be used to create some incredible dishes, why not turn the ham and turkey tradition on its head this Christmas season and create some very special seafood dishes instead?
We’ve collected a variety of great recipes and narrowed them down to appetizers/sides and main courses. We even have a couple of recipes that can be easily prepared on your marine BBQ while you’re celebrating on your boat.
Add these to your usual holiday repertoire or completely revamp your typical Christmas feast. Whether you want to lighten up your usual plate or prefer to indulge in a decadent meal, we’ve got something for everyone. Spending Christmas on board your yacht? Here are some other ideas to help make the season merry as you cruise the coast.
Christmas Dinner Seafood Appetizers and Side Dishes
Dressed to impress, this phyllo-wrapped baked brie recipe from Taste of Home is a beautiful blend of rich melted brie and succulent crab. For best results, use fresh crab meat. This recipe can be prepared ahead of time and baked when you like.
- 6 ounces of crab meat
- ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 chopped green onion
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 16 sheets pre-frozen phyllo dough (14” x 9” works best)
- ¼ cup salted butter, melted (if using plain, add a dash of salt to flavour)
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp water
- Crackers and crudites for dipping
- In a bowl, combine the crabmeat, red pepper, green onion, garlic powder and black pepper. Form it into a ball and place it back in the bowl. Lay one sheet of phyllo dough on the work surface. Tip – Keep the rest of the phyllo dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp bar cloth to keep it fresh as you work. Gently brush the phyllo dough with the melted butter. As you add the layers, brush each one with the butter.
- Set the cheese in the centre of the stack of phyllo dough and top it with the crab mixture. Here’s where your gift-wrapping skills come in handy: Bring the corners of the dough around the brie and the crab filling. Flip the whole thing over and place it in a pre-greased baking pan or pie plate. Mix the egg and water together and brush over the dough.
- Bake at 375˚C until the dough turns a nice golden brown, or about 25 minutes.
We chose this simple recipe because sweet potatoes are such a holiday food staple and prawns are always a favourite. Together, they create a crowd-pleasing appetizer or side dish that can be easily grilled right on the boat. The original recipe calls for shrimp, but we think this is a perfect opportunity for fresh-caught BC Spot Prawns.
- 2 med. sweet potatoes
- 2 Tbsp plus ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 1-1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 tsp chili powder, divided (substitute paprika if you don’t want any spice)
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 12 raw Spot Prawns, peeled and deveined
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 12 soaked wooden skewers
- Peel and cut potatoes into 1” cubes, Toss with oil, rosemary and ½ tsp chili powder/paprika. BBQ or roast for 20-25 mins until tender in a greased 15”x”10” baking pan or cast-iron frying pan.
- In a small bowl, blend the lemon juice, oil and chili powder/paprika with a whisk. Set aside 2 Tbsp of the marinade for basting on the grill. Add shrimp to the marinade, cover and refrigerate 20 mins.
- Thread sweet potato and shrimp onto wooden skewers and brush with reserved marinade. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill covered over medium heat until shrimp turn light pink.
Christmas Dinner Seafood Main Dishes
We don’t have lobster on Vancouver Island, but it does tend to be the ultimate seafood for celebrations and special occasions. If you prefer, you can always use Dungeness crab or King Crab legs instead, or a mix of crab and lobster for a truly special meal. Pair these with the shrimp and sweet potato kabobs and char broiled asparagus with citrus bagna cauda.
- 8 Tbsp unsalted, softened butter
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 1 ½ tsp crushed red chile flakes
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 1 live lobster (1- ½ lb per person)
- ¼ cup olive oil
For full directions and tips on cooking crab and lobster, see the recipe at Saveur.com
Crispy Gnocchi and Butter Clams
The original recipe from Epicurious calls for littleneck clams, but you can improvise with local butter clams. Always harvest from a red-tide free zone and when in doubt, purchase your butter clams from a reputable source. This recipe requires making your own gnocchi, but if you prefer you can purchase premade gnocchi from your local deli or grocery store. Making the gnocchi is like making pasta, but with riced russet potatoes instead of flour and eggs. Olive oil, garlic, lemon and fresh chives are all you’ll need to season this Italian dish. See all ingredients and full recipe here.
Grilled Halibut with Fresh Tomatoes and Hearts of Palm
Fresh grilled Halibut with tender hearts of palm is a light alternative to gravy and starch-heavy meals. Paired with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes, it can easily be elevated to feast status. Made with a list of simple ingredients like olive oil, heirloom tomatoes, basil and hearts of palm, this colourful, cheerful dish can also be made with other meaty fish such as albacore or swordfish. Visit Epicurious for the full recipe.
Fresh-Caught local seafood is a great way to kick up your Christmas traditions and there’s no better way to get it than on your own boat. Considering an upgrade this year? At Van Isle Marina, we’re proud to be able to offer the full collection of Pursuit Boats. Award-winning lineup of Pursuit Boats are packed with performance features and made entirely in the USA. Choose from offshore, dual console, center console and sport collections to perfectly suit your boating, fishing and adventuring wish list. Design your Pursuit boat and then contact a qualified Van Isle Marina Broker for more information.