As November approaches, the mayhem of holiday menu planning returns — though not necessarily with a vengeance. As more and more Americans adopt alternate diets, chances are someone at your table will need some kind of dietary accommodation. That doesn’t have to be a headache, though, and may even represent a fun new experience for your celebration.
If you’re pescaterian, don’t like turkey, or see Thanksgiving as an opportunity to ruffle traditional feathers (pun intended), we’ve got excellent seafood alternatives to all the classics. The dishes below work equally well as dazzling banquet centerpieces, or as a turkey-less side-fish (ha), perfect for your pescaterian or turkey-fatigued guests.
1. Maple-Cider Baked Salmon with Sweet Potatoes
This Maple-Cider Salmon has all the quintessential autumn flavors and dazzles as a banquet centerpiece. This recipe is a perfect opportunity to shop locally, so try to source your sweet potatoes and apple cider from your local CSA or farmer’s market.
2. Slow-Roasted Salmon with Moroccan Carrots
With cumin, harissa, and paprika, this dish boasts an nontraditional flavor palette — but we think that’s one of its many advantages. What it lacks in conventional fall flavor it more than makes up for in autumnal beauty. With its bold assortment of yellow, orange, and pink hues, this Slow-Roasted Salmon is a stunning addition to any table.
3. Smoked Fish
Smoked fish is an excellent hors d'oeuvre, and you don’t actually need any special equipment. Give this easy DIY smoked fish from our test kitchen a try, and while you’re at it, read about how indigenous Alaskans have been smoking fish for millennia.
4. Everything-but-the-bagel Salmon
Based on the iconic seasoning blend, this recipe could not be easier or faster. It comes together in 15 minutes and requires fewer than 10 ingredients, most of which you probably have lying around the house already — making it a great option for last-minute feasts and/or reluctant hosts. Make sure to serve with the equally simple sweet-and-sour braised cabbage and herbed potatoes.
5. Pan-Fried Fish Cakes and Romesco Sauce with Greens and Quick Pickled Veggies
We love these fish cakes for holiday feasts because they’re low-lift. You absolutely can (and should) make them ahead and freeze until ready to fry — it’s a great way to accommodate guests without creating too much work for yourself. And as much as we love mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, fish cakes are a decisively crisp addition to this holiday’s uniformly soft roster of foods.
*Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest and calls for acknowledgment and gratitude. We acknowledge that without this land’s indigenous forebears, we would not be able to partake in the bounty we enjoy today. We acknowledge the ongoing disregard for their lands, traditions, and sovereignty and we call for the celebration of indigenous cultures, respect of their rights, and greater care for the lands that they have stewarded since time immemorial. We also express deep gratitude for Alaska Native fishermen, whose experiences, knowledge, and techniques inform the work we are proud to do every day. Read more here and here.