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Author: Curtis Carr
Are you considering adopting a pescatarian diet? Or are you perhaps looking for recipes to satisfy the pescatarian in your life? Whoever you’re cooking for, we will go over the basics and provide some delicious pescatarian meal ideas to help you get started. What Do […]
Crab meat is a seafood staple that shows how deceptive outward appearance can be — sometimes the best things lie beneath the surface. In this case, buttery-sweet meat is the reward for anyone who takes a crack at this crustacean cuisine. But all crab meat is not the same. Multiple bodies of water are teeming with unique crab species that differ in size, weight and taste. Among these places, Alaska and the Bering Sea stand out. Alaska provides 29 percent of the world supply of crab.
An Overview of The Types of Alaskan Crabs
The main types of Alaskan Crab are the following: Alaskan King crab, Red King crab, Blue King crab, Golden King Crab, Russian King crab, Jonah crab, Dungeness crab, Snow crab, Tanner crab, Opilio, and Biardi.
Alaskan waters house an array of these delicious crab breeds that are ready to be split open for your next meal. However, several factors influence the quality and kind of crab that suit your taste buds. The location of the crab’s damp scurrying grounds — and later on, the location on the crab that you crack open to nibble — create a radically different dining experience.
Whether your crab is bought on a trip to the coast or ordered by mail, you can indulge your craving. With such an array of crab available, your preferences will undoubtedly be satisfied. Check out the winning qualities, purchasing tips and cooking recommendations for each type of crab below.
Alaskan King Crab
Known for their sweet taste and the delicate appearance of their leg meat, Alaskan King crabs are the primary choices for leg and claw meat — and they come in primary colors. King crab is overwhelmingly chosen as a favorite and highly ranked against other breeds.
Red, Blue and Golden King crabs make their rounds in the Pacific Ocean, but each breed clusters in a separate area due to biological adaptations. They also differ in price and popularity, and Red King crab is consumed more than Blue or Golden. However, Blue, in the soft-shell style, is a favorite in many circles. The common characteristics of Alaskan King crabs are spiky, knobby shells and equal leg-to-body proportions.
Red King Crab
Touting the iconic scarlet shade of crab, Red King crab dominates the field. They set up camp in shallower depths, just like Blue King crab, but they’ve adapted to warm-water settings and ventured into places where Blue King can’t go. They flourish even in size compared to the Blue and Golden variations, and when cooked, their color ripens to accentuate their deep red shell. Red is the most widely eaten King crab. These appetizing stone crabs are plucked from Bristol Bay and Norton Sound.
Because of their enormous popularity, Red King crab prices are higher than its crab competitors. The most recent data marks the average price of Red King at $10.71/lb. For the savory taste of the Red King, the demand is still constant despite a slightly higher price. Indulge in this massive crab to see what everyone is raving about.
Long Red King crab legs will immediately turn your meal into a feast. To ensure freshness for your dinner table, we cook Red Kings directly after the fishermen have captured them. Maine Lobster Now also provides pre-cooked crab that’s easily defrosted. You can heat your pre-cooked crab at home using many methods, but baking and steaming carefully warm the tender meat. Boiling is also an option, but the fragile flesh dazzles with the first two methods. Grab your sheller, and slather on the butter.
Blue King Crab
Blue King crab, a smaller version of the popular Red King, is delicious and vibrantly colored. These crabs shy away from warm water, congregating in nooks of cold water around the Bering Sea and nearby islands, like King Island, Point Hope and Norton Sound. Rich chunks of King crab meat come from these oddly colored crabs.
The less insisted upon Blue King is cheaper than Red King but more expensive than the Golden King. Averaging at $8.49/lb., Blue King is an affordable option that retains the savory, buttery taste of the King species. The sapphire shell may be nontraditional, but this type does not disappoint. Once cooked, the blue shell takes on red tones and becomes hard to distinguish. Garlic is the perfect addition to toss in with your Blue King crab. Include mined or sauteed garlic in your classic clarified butter dipping sauce.
Soft-shell crab is not a species but refers to the state of the crab’s shell when it’s caught and cooked. Crabs do not have the luxury of expanding skin. When they grow up or gain weight, they have to develop an entirely new shell. After crabs molt their old shells, and before they’re solidly protected with new cozy ones, they’re left vulnerable and ready to become someone’s soft-shell dinner. Blue King crabs undergo this molting process, and with the easier access, you can savor their body meat.
Golden King Crab
Golden King crab is also referred to as Brown King crab, and it’s found throughout the Pacific —as far as the Aleutian Islands and even Japan. These modestly sized creatures do not contain as much filling as the Blue and Red King, and they’re the mildest of the King crabs, with only a subtly sweet flavor. Their meat is special and striking, as bright red streaks accent the pure white flesh.
Due to their lesser value and lack of commercial benefit, Golden King is the least expensive of the King crab types. Like Blue and Red King, Golden legs are the best part of the crab to sink your teeth into — after removing the metallic shell, of course. Shelling or clipping into the outer layer will be easy enough to do after heating. Remember to wash the shell thoroughly in order to avoid an overly salty taste. The sweet and creamy insides are best consumed after all remnants of the sea are removed.
Russian King Crab
An Atlantic contender for Alaska-based species is the Russian King crab. Its natural home is the Barents Sea, close to Greenland and Norway, and the farthest eastern side of Russia has a low population of King crab. The Bering Sea is directly in between Russia and Alaska, so they share similar crab species due to proximity.
However, the same rust-colored crab species in the Barents Sea has been booming. Because the species was introduced into the Bering Sea, it has the same enormous size and strong flavor as Alaskan King crab. The Russian King crab is spreading throughout this region, and the seafood is becoming plentiful.
Russia is a leading exporter of King crab, and a short nine months has produced 44,000 tons of crab from this country. The type of crab caught in Russia is often mistaken for Alaskan King crab due to confusion over species. These two are kept separate from each other by location.
When fixing Russian King crab, the same concepts apply: Preserve the delicate flesh, and pair it with creamy side dishes. Side dishes can complement your crab dish and make the main course, your clawed favorite, shine.
Jonah Crab vs. Dungeness Crab
The Atlantic and Pacific hold two remarkably similar crab species: the Jonah crab and Dungeness crab. These two look identical but show up on opposite coasts: Jonah is found in the Atlantic, while Dungeness is in the Pacific.
Dungeness crab is a high-demand product for North America, stealing the crab crowd’s heart with its sweet flesh. The original location of the Dungeness crab is below Alaska, in Washington state, but the crab is a renowned choice for many seafood aficionados. The body of Dungeness crabs is significantly larger than its stubby legs, so harvest the abdomen of the critter for your salty-sweet course.
Jonah crab originates in Atlantic waters, but it shares many similarities with the Dungeness crab and can be substituted for east-coast dwellers. These deep-sea creatures became popular after stowing away in lobster hauls, and their oval bodies store a delectable but mild meat.
Purchase Jonah crab to maintain an affordable crab meat with a softly sweet flavor and a white, flaky look. Jonah crab claws are an excellent culinary choice. To increase their saltiness, add pungent seasonings to the claws or meat, especially for oven-baking. Cook the claws before scoring them for an effortless shell separation. Also, because this meat is low cost but equally tasty, incorporate it into crab cakes and other mixed crab dishes.
Snow Crab, Tanner Crab, Opilio and Bairdi Explained
Similar to King crabs, Snow crab legs and pincers will impact you with big taste. However, they’re smaller in size and more fibrous than their King crab counterparts. Your bare hands are tools enough to break apart the cluster of crab segments and shell.
Snow crab, or Tanner crab, is fished out of the Bering Sea and Pacific locations as well as the Maine coast and the upper Atlantic Ocean. These light crustaceans weigh only a few pounds, and their small but pokey pincers pack a punch — at least for their predators.
These crabs also go by several names: Tanner, Snow, Opilio and Bairdi. Fortunately, they can be simplified so that you know what kind of tiny claws to sample. The two main types of Snow even crossbreed, which is why these names end up being interchangeable. Snow crab, or Opilio, resides around the Alaskan Peninsula and the Pribilof Islands. They’re the smaller of the two subcategories of Tanner crab, weighing around one to two pounds. Southern Tanner crab, or Bairdi, is weightier, with a bit more meat inside. It weighs about two to four pounds.
The distinction does not extend to the market, because both Opilio and Bairdi fall under “Snow crab.” They’re more affordable than any other type of crab, averaging a price of $1.29/lb. If manageable bunches of crab appeal to your dining experience, Snow crab also will look attractive to your wallet.
This hands-on delicacy carries a pleasant, fibrous texture. Compared to its larger counterparts, Snow crab is healthier, with less fat. The thin legs and claws will give substantial protein while keeping your calories down.
Although Snow crab is dwarfed by King crab, they’re cooked using the same methods. Boiling, steaming, frying and baking Snow crabs all warm their light pink flesh to the perfect point. Consider adding lemons for a hint of tang.
Hair Crab: Alaska’s Mystery
Hair crab, or Hairy crab like the Hong Kong specialty, is a less popular but unforgettable Alaskan catch. From Puget Sound to the Aleutian Islands, Hair crab is known for its fuzzy outer texture. If you’re trying to mark new and exotic crab types off your bucket list, this one is worth trying. It normally spans 1.4 inches and is softer than other kinds.
The Chinese version of the Hairy crab is treasured for the female’s roe, which contains a powerfully sweet kick. Cooking Hairy crab in China is straightforward — simply steam it. Vinegar and ginger replace the traditional butter dipping sauce, which offsets the jolt of sweetness. Hairy crab is wildly expensive from the craze and curiosity, and it even rose to approximately $31.80/lb.
Storing and Cooking Tips
If you purchase frozen crab, store it the correct way to keep your other refrigerator items uncontaminated and safe. A container that’s watertight and sufficiently sealable is vital. Your frozen crab meat will begin to drain water as it defrosts, which can get messy. If you want to avoid a puddle the size of the ocean in your fridge, properly store the crab.
Also, section off a space in your fridge away from other kinds of meat — especially anything raw. Crab is nutritious and protein-rich, but it’s necessary to maintain a bacteria-free cooking space.
Depending on if you cook your crab in the oven, boil it, steam it or fry it, follow these suggestions to wow your guests, friends, family — even yourself.
- Steam precooked and defrosted crab legs for about 4-6 minutes, and judge if they’re heated by the particular aroma that rises from the pot. If you forgot to defrost your crab — it happens to the best of us — simply rinse the ice from the shell and steam for 6-10 minutes. You’ll smell the tenderness of the meat — so lick your lips and get ready to crack your boiled crab legs open.
- The optimal broiling time is around 3-5 minutes. Remember to score the shell before placing the crab in the oven.
- Baking crab often involves wrapping clusters in foil. If you only have legs, place them directly on the pan and in the oven. For uncovered crab, bake at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes. For covered crab, crank up the heat to 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
Completing Your Crab Meal
With a flavorful main course, choose side dishes that complete the distinct flavor of your crab rather than upstaging it. Each type of crab, whether sweet, flaky, buttery or fibrous, deserves a specific side dish that pinpoints its strength. Here are the best pairings based on crab meat flavor and texture:
- If you have staggeringly sweet crab meat, like Hairy crab or Snow crab, opt for a zesty or acidic side like lemon or ginger.
- For savory or salty-sweet meat, like Alaskan King Crab, capitalize on creamy and buttery sides. Olive oil alternatives with piles of vegetables also make this a mighty duo. Whether Red, Blue or Golden, your King crab will be robustly matched.
- When your crab meat has a faintly sweet note, like Dungeness or Jonah crab, select starchy options. Lightly sweet crab combined with potatoes is the go-to arrangement, and corn on the cob is an appropriate tradition to continue.
With these compatible blends of flavors at your fingertips, you can confidently purchase the centerpiece of your meal. Maine Lobster Now carries live, fresh and frozen crab with easy-to-follow instructions and overnight delivery. Our selection of Alaskan crab can rapidly reach your doorstep to cure your watering mouth. We’ll send fresh, flavorful crab straight from their habitats directly to your home, so order now!
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You may already know white wine pairs well with seafood. The question is – what liquor goes with seafood? If you usually avoid serving liquor with your meals, it’s understandable. Spirits are high in alcohol and can overpower a dish. Although liquor may be trickier to pair with food than wine, it is not impossible. Spicy spirits like gin or vodka can be delicious with seafood, and as a bonus, help get the conversation rolling.
- Best Lobster Cocktails & Drink Pairings
- Best Crab Cocktails & Drink Pairings
- Best Oyster Cocktails & Drink Pairings
- Best Shrimp Cocktails & Drink Pairings
- Best Seafood Wine Pairings
- Best Seafood Soup Cocktails & Drink Pairings
You might serve liquor in cocktail form, which helps tone down a high alcohol content and provides an opportunity to add more flavor to a meal. Cocktails often look as fun as they taste, too – perfect for setting a festive mood. In this post, we’ll provide liquor pairing ideas for a variety of seafood dishes, and we’ll also suggest beer and wine pairings for those who prefer less intense beverages. Either way, we hope to inspire you to dust off your shaker, crack open a beer or pop the cork next time you serve treasures from the sea.
Lobster drink pairings revolve around lobster’s sweet, briny flavor and its preparation. One way to eat lobster is to dunk the meat in a pool of butter. A neutral spirit like gin adds a touch of citrusy flavor to a buttery lobster dish, which helps cut through the fat and balance the sweetness.
You might also try cognac, which is distilled from wine, and pairs well with shellfish and lobster claws. Cognac brings smooth fruity flavors to the table and is an excellent choice for a surf-and-turf meal. If you’re nervous about drinking cognac with lobster, take it for a test run first by mixing iced cognac with ginger ale.
If you prefer cocktails over straight liquor, here are some recommendations that pair well with a lobster dinner.
1. Natalie’s Swizzle
Chefs and bartenders at Natalie’s at the Camden Harbour Inn recommend trying their Natalie’s Swizzle cocktail with your next lobster boil. To make this bright, spicy cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 ounce of dark rum
- 1 ounce of Drambuie
- 1 ounce of lime juice
- 1/2 ounce of ginger syrup
- 3 dashes of Chinese bitters
- 6 to 8 mint leaves
- 10 dashes of Coastal Root bitters
- 10 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
To make Natalie’s Swizzle, mix the first six ingredients in a Collins glass and fill it with crushed ice. Stir the cocktail until it’s cold and top it with more crushed ice. Add the bitters and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve this Maine-made cocktail to guests next time you offer fresh Maine lobster.
2. Lobster Bloody Mary
What could go better with succulent lobster meat than more lobster meat? When your order our fresh, cooked lobster meat, you’ll find juices left in the bottom of the bag. Here’s a way to use those juices and impress guests with a mouthwatering cocktail. To make two servings of our Lobster Bloody Mary, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of seafood seasoning
- 3 ounces of vodka
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon of celery salt
- 2 tablespoons of pickle juice
- 1 half lemon
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- 6 ounces of tomato juice
- 5 to 10 drops of hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons of prepared horseradish
- 2 tablespoons of juice from cooked fresh lobster meat
- Two 12-ounce glasses
You can combine the following ingredients for a showstopping garnish:
- Bamboo skewers
- Swizzle sticks
- Cooked lobster meat
- Celery stalks
- Cucumber spears
- Pickle spears
- Lemon slices
To get started, place the seafood seasoning on a plate or bowl and set it aside. Squeeze lemon juice around the rim of each glass with the lemon half, and dip each glass into the seasoning. Fill the glasses with ice.
Pour the vodka, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, horseradish, lemon juice, tomato juice, pickle juice and lobster juice in a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes. Shake for about a minute or until the shaker is cold. Pour the mixture between the two glasses and garnish. Serve immediately to thirsty friends.
3. Beech Hill
Are you planning on serving classic Maine lobster rolls for dinner? You’ll want to give this blueberry-inspired cocktail a shot. Another suggestion from Natalie’s, the Beech Hill cocktail is named after the Beech Hill Preserve and is sure to lift your spirits. To make Beech Hill, you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 ounces of Bols Genever
- 1/2 ounce of Domaine de Canton
- 3/4 ounce of lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce of maple syrup
- 10 blueberries
- 2 basil leaves
To make Beech Hill, mix the blueberries and basil in a cocktail shaker. Add the Bols Genever, Domaine de Canton, lemon, maple syrup and ice, then shake. Strain into a rocks glass over ice and garnish with a basil sprig.
The Bamboo is a recommendation from Darryl Chan, head bartender at Bar Pleiades in New York, as a versatile cocktail that goes great with seafood. To make Chan’s Bamboo, you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 ounces of Dolin Dry Vermouth
- 1 1/2 ounces of Lustau Los Arcos Dry Amontillado sherry
- 2 dashes of orange bitters
- 1 dash of lemon bitters
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve this refreshing cocktail with lobster or any seafood dish you’re craving.
5. Belgian Tripel
If you prefer beer over cocktails, you have many tasty pairing options. One option is to pair a lobster dinner with a Belgian tripel, a bright, peppery beer that can season lobster like a pinch of spice. Consider trying Tripel from Allagash Brewing Company with your next lobster feast. Other beer styles that add a lemony brightness to lobster’s lush flavors include hefeweizens or Belgian witbiers.
Sailors sip rum for more than a dose of courage – it tastes great with crabs. A sweet white rum works well in cocktails served alongside tender, slightly sweet crab. On its own, rum may overpower a delicate crab dish. However, a rum cocktail can enhance crab’s succulent flavor. You might also try pairing crab with gin, which adds a burst of citrus to a dish. Round up your best buddies and serve them the following drinks with crab, and you’ll have friends for life.
A mojito and seafood make a lovely match, especially if your seafood of choice is crab. It’s hard not to love a soft golden crab cake in the first place. Imagine serving crab cakes with a cocktail that makes the flavors playfully dance. Try this easy classic mojito recipe to intensify a crab dish with hints of lime, mint and subtly sweet rum:
- 2 ounces of quality light rum
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 6 to 8 mint leaves
- Splash of club soda
- 1 lime, cut in half
- Mint sprig
To make a mojito, place the sugar, mint leaves and club soda in a highball glass. Stir well until the sugar dissolves. Squeeze the lime juice from both halves and drop one half of the lime into the glass. Add the rum and stir. Fill the glass with ice cubes and club soda, and garnish with the mint spring. Enjoy this cooling cocktail with crab and imagine relaxing on the beach.
A refreshing, citrusy gimlet made with lime and floral gin makes another tasty choice for a crab-centric meal and is extremely easy to make. Try this fun Cucumber Basil Gimlet recipe from Craft and Cocktails for a bright green drink with satisfying flavor:
- 4 ounces of floral gin, like St. George Terroir Gin
- 1 ounce of fresh lime juice
- 18 basil leaves
- 1 cup of cucumber, chopped
- 1 ounce of simple syrup
To make this gimlet, place the gin, lime juice and basil leaves into a blender. Blend on low to mix the ingredients, then switch to high. Add the chopped cucumber and the syrup and blend. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the mixture into a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a cucumber ribbon and basil leaf.
3. Belgian-Style Saison
If you want to pair crab with beer, try a spicy Belgian-style saison to balance the sweetness of crab meat and cut through the fat of butter-dipped crab chunks. If you’re serving a garlicky crab dish, serve an American-style India pale ale (IPA). An American IPA cleans the palate between bites and adds pleasant contrast with herbal notes and citrus flavors.
Oysters are more flexible than other seafood varieties when it comes to alcohol pairings. You can go light or dark with drinks because of oysters’ brackish, mildly sweet flavor. For example, you might enjoy the sweetness of bourbon with a salty oyster. If you serve fried oysters with a flavorful dipping sauce, you can pair the dish with a bold bourbon. A simple gin and tonic cocktail also makes a yummy oyster companion. Although there are dozens of ways to enjoy oysters with liquor, wine or beer, here are some ideas worth trying.
1. Hemingway Daiquiri
The Hemingway Daiquiri complements the slight sweetness and sea-saltiness of an oyster with bright, sugary flavors. You’re sure to discover why Ernest Hemingway loved this concoction, especially if you serve it with brackish delicacies. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- 2 ounces of white rum
- 3/4 ounce of fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce of fresh grapefruit juice
- 1/2 ounce of maraschino liqueur
To make this drink, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all the ingredients and shake. Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a slice of lime.
2. Bee’s Knees
Ready to travel with friends to the 1920s when people used the phrase “bee’s knees”? This simple, refreshing cocktail makes an oyster shine and helps get the party started. Try this classic Bee’s Knees Cocktail, where you’ll make honey syrup and mix it with just a few ingredients. For the syrup, you’ll need:
- 1 cup of honey
- 1/3 cup of hot water
To make the cocktail, you’ll need:
- 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice
- 2 ounces of gin
- 3/4 ounce of honey syrup
First, make the honey syrup by combining the honey and hot water in a container and stirring well. In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, lemon juice, honey syrup and ice, and shake. Strain into a glass and feel your taste buds buzz.
You may think a dark stout would be too heavy to pair with a plate of oysters. However, a toasty, malty stout enhances an oyster’s briny flavor. Next time you eat oysters, pair them with stout for a pleasant surprise, or try Twin Village Farmhouse Oyster Stout from Oxford Brewing Company, which they brew with jumbo oysters from the Damariscotta River.
What Drinks Go Well With Shrimp?
Like other seafood items on this list, gin goes well with the briny sweetness of shrimp. You have many options when it comes to finding a gin cocktail you can enjoy with shrimp. Consider how you prepare the shrimp and how you want to play with flavors. Let’s look at a few recommendations.
1. Gin Martini
- 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth
- 2 1/2 ounces of gin
- Olives or lemon twists
- 1 dash of Angostura or orange bitters, optional
To make a gin martini, fill a mixing glass with ice and combine the vermouth and gin. Stir the mixture for 30 seconds. Strain the cocktail into a cold glass and add a dash of bitters if desired. Garnish with a lemon twist or olives and enjoy with friends, shrimp and conversation.
2. Cucumber Gin Cocktail
On a hot summer day, or to remember hot summer days in the middle of winter, serve shrimp with colorful, thirst-quenching cucumber gin cocktails. To get started, you’ll need:
- 1 English seedless cucumber
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 teaspoons of raw sugar
- 4 lemon wheels
- 4 ounces of gin
- 1 ounce of fresh lime juice
- Club soda
To make a cucumber gin cocktail, first shave ribbons from the cucumber with a vegetable peeler and set them aside. Cut a four-inch piece of remaining cucumber and chop. Mix the chopped cucumber with kaffir lime leaves, sugar and two lemon slices in a cocktail shaker. Add the gin and lime juice and fill the shaker with ice. Shake for about 20 seconds. Strain the cocktail into two Collins glasses full of ice. Add club soda, stir and garnish with cucumber ribbons and lemon wheels.
German wheat beer, or weissbier, brings shrimp to life with invigorating spicy flavor. Try Spinnaker, a refreshing, zesty and sweet hefeweizen from Rising Tide Brewing.
What if you’re having a creamy, flavorful soup like clam chowder? Wouldn’t a cocktail be too acidic? Not necessarily. For instance, if you’re going to serve up a bowl of velvety lobster bisque, you might also serve a Rhubarb Smash, which will wash the creaminess of the soup from the palate. Here’s what you’ll need to make this cocktail recommended by Natalie’s:
- 1 1/2 ounces of Aperol
- 1 ounce of dark rum
- 1 ounce of lime juice
- 1 brown sugar cube
- 1/4 simple syrup
- Rhubarb, 2-inch slices
- Club soda
To make a Rhubarb Smash, mix rhubarb, the brown sugar cube and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add Aperol, dark rum, lime and ice, then shake. Strain the cocktail into a Collins glass over ice and top each one with club soda. Enjoy with lobster bisque or another creamy seafood soup.
Wine is a classic choice for accompanying seafood. If you have any doubt about a seafood and liquor pairing, go with dry white wine or Champagne. Certain types of red wines work with particular seafood dishes as well. Let’s explore a few wine pairing options that are sure to please.
1. Red Wine
People typically avoid pairing red wine with seafood in fear it will overpower a delicate dish. However, sometimes red wine and seafood work well together. In general, a dry light red wine like rosé or spicy pinot noir taste delicious with white fish and seafood. Cellardoor Winery recommends pairing their pinot noir with bacon-wrapped scallops.
2. White Wine
White wine is the go-to choice for pairing with seafood. Similar to a squeeze of lemon, dry white wine adds splashes of citrus and a bit of sweetness to buttery, briny seafood. It also cleanses the palate to make each bite taste like new. Whether you plan to eat mussels, clams, lobster, scallops or crabs, you can’t go wrong with white wine. Choose from any of the following wines for a flavorful dining experience:
- Chenin blanc
- Pinot grigio
- Sauvignon blanc
3. Sparkling Wine
The satisfying cleansing bubbles in sparkling wine make it go well with just about anything, and the acidity lifts buttery, creamy flavors. You can pair sparkling wine with everything from lobster mac and cheese to a smoky seafood dip. Try Champagne to balance sweet with salty in creamy or smoked dishes. Or, enjoy the notes of apple and pear in prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, alongside spicy seafood dishes and sides. No matter what type of sparkling wine you choose, it’ll be hard not to relish the taste and texture when paired with seafood.
Benefits of Pairing the Best Cocktail, Wine or Beer With Seafood
Why bother pairing drinks with a seafood dish? Although a glass of water will suffice if you only want to quench your thirst, there are several benefits to choosing the right beverage for your meal. Here are a few reasons it’s worth it to shake and stir.
1. It Makes Food Taste Better
Think about the last time you ate warm homemade chocolate chip cookies. Did you kick yourself when you realized you forgot to pick up milk? Or how about the last time you had French fries? Did the salty, fried potato sticks make you long for a cold, creamy milkshake? It’s likely you’ve been pairing drinks with food for a long time, even if you didn’t realize it. Matching a drink with food is no different than adding seasoning or sauce to a meal. The right beverage has the power to bring out the flavors of a dish and makes a meal taste even better.
Similarly, the wrong drink can reduce the quality of a meal. Think of eating brownies while drinking orange juice. The question, then, is why not make a meal better by pairing it with a drink that complements the flavors?
2. It’s Fun
Besides adding to a jovial atmosphere, it’s fun to taste different drinks and see what works. Don’t be afraid to play with flavors and discover what you like putting together. You can even have a tasting party and try a variety of wines or spirits paired with different dishes. Ask yourself what tastes best with varying dishes of seafood or appetizers, and what doesn’t mix so well. After experimenting, you’re sure to find a winner.
3. It’s Easy
If you’re serving steamed lobster or seared scallops, you might be wondering what sides you can make and have ready before guests arrive. If you have bottles of white wine, Champagne or festive cocktails on hand and ready to go, you can relax. Beverage pairing is an easy way to turn any meal into an elegant occasion in a flash. Many cocktails are easy to make, and wine only requires a corkscrew and some glasses. Overall, pairing drinks with food is a simple way to enhance the flavors of a meal – no culinary training required.
Buy Seafood at Maine Lobster Now
Are you excited to practice pairing drinks with seafood? Let us help you get started at Maine Lobster Now. Whether you wish to host a beer and crab cookout or a romantic lobster dinner, we have the delicious, fresh seafood you need to pair with cocktails, wine or beer. All our products ship overnight in insulated packaging from Maine and come with easy instructions to make preparation a cinch. Order delicious seafood from Maine today, or feel free to contact us for more information!
Do you love the clean, tempting taste of freshly caught, freshly prepared seafood? When it comes to our favorite maritime meals, there’s no dish more delicious as both a delicacy and a down-home dinner than fresh lobster. From a plentiful shellfish used in abundance in […]
New England overflows with ghost stories.
From the Salem witch trials to the tale of Mercy Brown, Rhode Island’s vampire, the cold and forested New England states are a perfect backdrop for frightening events. Even small northern states like New Hampshire and Vermont have more than their share of ghost stories.
But perhaps the eeriest legends come from the coast.
Maybe it’s because of its mystery and unpredictability, but the ocean seems to attract legends and stories. The gray and stormy New England coast is filled with unexplained phenomena — almost every community has stories of ghosts, from remote lighthouses to wind-swept islands.
Here are four of New England’s most unnerving coastal legends, just in time for fall.
1. The Pirate Curse of Nix’s Mate Island
If you venture out on the water of Boston Harbor, you might notice a small island with a curious and ominous beacon, 12 feet tall and 40 square feet at its base. The slip of land is no more than 200 square feet, and a small gravelly beach is exposed during low tides.
This little island is called Nix’s Mate, and it wasn’t always small. In 1636, the island was over 12 acres long, and the property was sold to a man from Boston named John Gallop. For Gallop, the place was perfect for grazing a small herd of sheep. But to the local authorities, the island was perfect for another reason.
Stretching near the mouth of the wide harbor, Nix’s Mate was the ideal place to hang pirates.
According to custom, after hanging, the bodies of convicted pirates were often displayed in a visible location to send a message — piracy wouldn’t be tolerated in these waters. Because of the island’s location, many ships entering the harbor would pass close enough to see Nix’s Mate, along with the bodies and bones swaying in the sea breeze. And since Boston harbor teemed with pirates during the late 17th and early 18th century, the hanging posts on Nix’s Mate were almost always occupied.
In the 1630s, a sea-weary ship moored in the harbor, close to the island. After a long journey, the crew gratefully enjoyed a night of rest in the safety of the harbor. But the next morning, the captain, Nix, didn’t emerge from his cabin. Curious, one of the crew knocked on his door, then cautiously entered the room. Nix was dead, murdered in his sleep.
The authorities were notified as soon as the crew got ashore, and the captain’s first mate was convicted of the crime. The man swore his innocence, but it didn’t sway the opinions of the court or crew. A crowd gathered at the hanging island, and as the hangman slid the noose around his neck, the mate cried to God, “Show that I am innocent! Let this island sink into the sea to prove that I have never committed murder!” His words hung in the air, unnerving the crowd as they returned to their homes.
Life returned to normal for the town and harbor. But as the years passed, significant chunks of the island were carried away by waves, until only a few pieces of rocky shoal remained. Gradually, the little island became known as Nix’s Mate in honor of the innocent man wrongfully condemned.
According to some folklore, the island came by its name a different way. In this version, Captain Nix was a pirate who sailed into Boston Harbor for sanctuary. In 1680, Nix anchored in the harbor, his ship full with treasure stolen from unarmed merchants. During the night, he piled his wealth into a small boat and set off for the nearby island, accompanied by his loyal first mate.
After the mate dug a deep pit, they began to toss in bags of coin and jewels. As the mate’s back was turned, Nix calmly pulled out his pistol and shot him — he buried the man with his treasure, sure that no one else knew its location. But his betrayal offended the sea, and gradually, she reclaimed both the island and Nix’s treasure, and his restless ghost is said to still search for it among the rocks.
Another story claims the island’s name has a less-bloody origin. In 1700, a ship anchored offshore of the small island. The day was overcast, and a dense mist drifted over the water. Waves slapped the cliffs of the island in strange rhythms, and the sound seemed so eerily abnormal that a Dutch passenger, leaning against the deck’s railing, whispered that it was nixie scmalt, or “the wail of the water spirits.” The incident unnerved him enough that he included the nixie scmalt island in a letter home that same year.
We will probably never know for certain what happened on Nix’s Mate, but many claim that a presence hovers over the small isle. Whether it belongs to a bitter mate, a wandering captain, ancient sea spirits or just the restless souls of countless condemned pirates, something has made the little island stand out in local legend, and that something still lingers on the little island in the harbor.
2. The Dead Ship of Harpswell
Something about Maine’s gray and rocky coast seems to attract unexplained stories of spirits and phantoms. One of the legends that still echoes along the shore is Harpswell’s ghost ship.
No one expected the Dash to sink. During the War of 1812, the United States needed good seamen badly. In 1814, President Madison commissioned the Dash as a privateering vessel, charged with plundering and harassing British merchants, settlements and ships.
In just one year, the ship and her crew earned an incredible record of 15-0, outrunning many enemy warships in the process. But winter in the north Atlantic is harsh, and in January of 1815, the Dash raninto a fierce storm. Heavy rain, dense mist and freezing spray from enormous waves overwhelmed the frantic crew. The churning sea pushed the ship onto Georges Bank, a vast shoal dangerously close to the surface.
Hidden by the storm and waves, the Dash sunk into the cold ocean. But neither her wreckage nor her crew was found washed up on shore in the following days. This led some locals to watch for the ship’s return to her home port, swearing that she had not been lost. The Dash was almost unsinkable, after all — surely no storm could have wrecked her.
But years passed, and the Dash never sailed victoriously into port. One day, a worker on the docks of Harpswell, Maine, looked out towards the horizon. The sun had just set, and a thin mist was settling over the waves. Before his eyes, a ship drifted into view, as though it came from the fog itself.
The ship was gray and under full sail, and she was making straight for the town’s port in Casco Bay. Her sails were filled by a non-existent wind, and the ship seemed to carry the mist with her as she flew across the bay towards the docks. But most frightening of all, not a single person could be seen on the deck or handling the sails. Before the stunned worker could cry out, the ship faded from view, just before slamming into the shore. She was gone as quickly and eerily as she had appeared.
The Dash seemed to have finally returned to her home port. In the following decades, the dead ship of Harpswell haunted the residents of the small Maine town. Every few years, a local townsperson would see the ship while walking the shore — always at dusk, always unmanned and always vanishing just moments before hitting land. At first, sightings were just frightening and mysterious, signs that the ship had not sunk peacefully. But gradually, new stories emerged in the town.
If some unlucky person spied the ghost ship in the bay, they had more than spirits to fear. According to reports, if you saw the Dash, someone you loved was about to die.
For years, the residents of Harpswell avoided walking too near the bay at dusk, afraid what they might glimpse in the mist. The story of the death ship spread, and in 1866, poet John Greenleaf Whittier dedicated an entire poem to the legend — The Dead Ship of Harpswell. In the poem, Whittier writes of a “ghost of what was once a ship” that is captained by the angel of death, bringing doom to those who glimpse her gray sails.
The last official sighting was in the 1880s when a guest to the town reported watching an unmanned ship glide into the bay. He mentioned it in passing to his companion, but by the time they glanced at the water, the ship had faded out of view.
However, if you ask locals, the dead ship still drifts into the old bay every few years, and almost always, a sighting precedes a sudden death in the community. No one knows what the Dash is seeking in Casco Bay, but something keeps sailing out of the mist, restless and searching.
3. The Lady in Black of George’s Island
Like Nix’s Mate, George’s Island guards the mouth of the Boston Harbor. But unlike Nix’s, this island is substantial — with 39 acres of permanent land and another 14 at low tide, George’s Island was just the right size for a military fort.
In 1850, construction on Fort Warren was completed on the island. The fort proved useful as a patrol point and training grounds, and during the American Civil War, it began a new career housing Confederate prisoners of war. The harbor’s cold and bleak winters were a shocking contrast to the warm south, and many of the prisoners found the island harsh and inhospitable.
In 1861, a young Confederate soldier named Andrew Lanier was brought to Fort Warren, and he set himself to enduring a New England climate. During the bleak winter, he managed to send his beloved wife, Melanie, a secret letter, telling her he was alive but imprisoned.
It took months for the letter to make its way south to Georgia, but as soon as she received the letter, Melanie decided she would go to her husband, and she would help him escape.
After careful preparations, Melanie set out on the long and dangerous journey to Hull, Mass. At Hull, she stayed in the home of a secret Confederate sympathizer. A coastal town, Hull was just a mile away from George’s Island and Fort Warren. For hours every day, Melanie studied the fort, memorizing the patterns of guards and the prison’s daily schedule.
It was winter again before she was ready to act. She gathered an old pistol and a pickaxe. Cutting off her hair, she pulled on old men’s clothes. When night fell, a storm blew into the harbor. Ignoring the freezing wind and sea, Melanie slipped into a waiting dinghy and began rowing.
With the loud surf masking any noise, she hid her small boat among large rocks at one end of the island. Creeping through the shadows, Melanie began to whistle, as quietly as she could. It was an old, obscure Southern tune, one she and Andrew had always loved. After several long moments, a second whistle joined hers — Andrew signaled back. Using her hands to guide her, she felt her way until she found the outside wall of his cell. She managed to squeeze through one of the fort’s small windows and into the arms of her husband.
The soldiers managed to hide her from the guards, and using the pickaxe, they began to tunnel to the center of the fort. The night before they would complete the tunnel, one of the men became careless and struck a particularly loud blow with the pickaxe. Before the prisoners could back out of the tunnel, the alarm was sounded, and guards discovered the entrance.
After the last soldier was accounted for, the guards turned away from the entrance. Unnoticed, Melanie crept from the tunnel. Before anyone could react, she pulled her pistol and held it against the head of the nearest soldier. But the man spun around and knocked the gun away, and in shock, her finger squeezed the trigger. After the deafening shot, Andrew fell to the ground — Melanie had accidentally killed her husband.
Guards escorted Melanie to a cell, condemned her as a spy and sentenced her to death by hanging. On the eve of her execution, Melanie summoned all of her dignity and requested to wear female clothing at her hanging. After searching the fort, all the guards could find was an old, black robe. Draped in black, Melanie climbed the steps of the gallows, obscured by the ocean’s cold spray.
Melanie Lanier died and was buried on George’s Island, still in her black robes. Just a few weeks later, a young guard on duty was staring off towards the dark and rough sea, watching for Confederate ships. Suddenly, he felt two cold hands around his neck. Wheeling around, the stunned soldier stared at a shrouded, black figure, who lunged at the man again before vanishing.
Soon after the guard’s encounter, a late snow storm filled the island with drifts. After the storm stopped, the soldiers on duty were stunned to see the imprint of a lady’s slipper in the fresh snow. The footprints led nowhere.
And so began the haunting of George’s Island. According to the stories, a mysterious figure was routinely spotted wandering the grounds. During dark and overcast nights, on-duty sentinels would sometimes see a woman, dressed all in black, drifting across the shore. When spotted, the ghost slowly approached the terrified onlooker. Suddenly lashing out with supernatural speed, the Lady in Black would furiously push and scratch her victim before vanishing.It is said she only targets people in a soldier’s uniform, still furious and heartbroken at the death of her husband.
Her appearances didn’t stop with the end of the war. In the early 1900s, a soldier broke his ankle while trying to escape the Lady. Many visitors claim to see a figure in black wandering the dark corridors beneath the fort to this day, and during dark, overcast nights, some still notice a Lady in Black walking along the shore.
4. The Haunting of Owl’s Head Lighthouse
Penobscot Bay needed a lighthouse. During the 19th century, lime trade in nearby Rockland, Maine, had exploded. Because so many ships were coming in and out of the harbor, the community petitioned the federal government to build a lighthouse. Their request was accepted, and construction began in 1824.
In 1825, the long-awaited lighthouse was finally completed. It cost a total of $2,707.79 and came with a property of seventeen and a half acres of headland. Although a relatively short lighthouse, Owl’s Head is on high ground — at night the beam of light can be seen for sixteen miles in every direction.
The lighthouse gained its name from its cliffs. Two large indentations make the cliff face look like the face of an owl, watching the sea with wide eyes. Rockland is known for its beauty, and the picturesque lighthouse perches above green, wind-swept hills dotted with pines, the essence of coastal charm.
No one knows when the ghosts first appeared. All anyone knows is that since its construction, Owl’s Head Lighthouse has been haunted.
But the ghosts of Owl’s Head don’t seem to be malicious. One of the ghosts is just known as “Little Lady.” The form of a small child is often seen rummaging through the kitchen or staring out a window. Before or after seeing her, doors tend to slam unexpectedly and silverware rattles in its drawer, but for the most part, Little Lady is said to be a benevolent spirit who brings a feeling of peace instead of fear.
Another mysterious presence is thought to be the ghost of a former keeper. Large footprints of a workman’s boots sometimes appear in mud or freshly fallen snow, always leading from the keepers’ house to the old lighthouse. When the keepers would follow the footprints up the lighthouse steps, they would find the brass brightly polished, although they had not cleaned it recently.
Currently, the Owl’s Head is operated by the Coast Guard. But a change in ownership hasn’t reduced encounters. Denise Germann, the wife of a Coast Guard keeper, reports that one night her husband left their bed, remembering he had not covered some construction equipment outside. Soon after, Denise felt him return and asked him sleepily why he had left. He didn’t answer her, so she rolled over and froze. Her husband was not in bed, but next to her was the indentation of a body, moving as though shifting into a comfortable position.
Denise thought she was dreaming and forced herself to go back to sleep. In the morning, she told her husband what she had dreamed. Unnerved, he told her that last night, as he had left the room, he had seen a cloud of smoke hovering just over the floor. Thinking it was fog, he kept walking, but it moved past him and into the bedroom — just before Denise awoke.
Just a few years later, the new keepers were awakened by their 3-year-old daughter Claire standing in their doorway. The little girl announced, “Fog’s rolling in! Time to put the foghorn on!” Shocked, her parents stared at her — they were sure that they had never spoken those phrases around her. On questioning Claire, she told them that she had an imaginary friend, an old man dressed in a long blue coat and a seaman’s cap. For as long as the family was stationed at Owl’s Head, Claire claimed that she could see her friend wandering through the house.
Other keepers have seen a figure, dressed all in white, sitting at one of the home’s windows. In the 1980s, a son of the current keeper swore that he would often wake up and see a woman sitting in his room, watching him. For whatever reason, Owl’s Head attracts supernatural visitors, and they don’t seem to go away with time.
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The New England coast brims with life and legend, from ghost ships to eerie lighthouses.
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