Your State-by-State Guide to a Seafood Supper this Thanksgiving

Whether you’re a pro angler or simply someone who enjoys recreational fishing, we’re willing to bet that your typical Thanksgiving spread resemble one another’s pretty closely.

Outside the usual cast of characters - ie turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc. - variations start to occur by region, state, and even neighborhood.

With that in mind, we’re taking a look at some of the most commonly fished species in each state to see which seafood preparation might appear on your table this holiday season, versus that of your fellow patriot’s across the country. Please enjoy the most comprehensive Seafood Thanksgiving Menu ever compiled!

Region: Northeast

Popular state fish: Haddock, Cod, Yellowtail Flounder, Scallops, Lobster

Our recipe pick: Sea Scallops with Cranberry-Balsamic Pan Sauce


By Kristy Bernardo of

1 pound sea scallops, patted dry with paper towel
2 T olive oil, divided
1 small shallot, finely diced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 sprig fresh thyme
½ cup chicken broth or stock
½ cup Whole Foods organic whole berry cranberry sauce
1 T cold butter

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 T oil and, when shimmering, add scallops carefully to pan. Don’t touch scallops, cook for 1 – 2 minutes until brown crust is formed, then flip and do the same to other side. Remove scallops from pan and set aside.

Add remaining 1 T oil to pan. Add shallots and cook for one minute. Add balsamic vinegar and cook until reduced by half. Add thyme sprig, chicken broth and cranberry sauce; cook until sauce is thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

Remove thyme sprig and stir in cold butter. Spoon sauce onto serving plates and serve with scallops on top of sauce. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Region: Mid-Atlantic

Popular state fish: Wreakfish, Rockfish, Striped Bass, Blue Crab

Our recipe pick: Rockfish Galettes

By Sascha Perl-Raver of The Food Network

Total: 1 hr 15 min Prep: 45 min Cook: 30 min

Yield: 10 to 12 servings as an appetizer/side dish



1 pound Rockfish (Striped Bass) fillets

1 lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and crab boil seasoning, (recommended: Old Bay)
Galette Dough:
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup (about) ice water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into 12 pieces
Truffle Oil and chives to garnish (optional)


Begin by making galette dough. Whisk egg yolk and vinegar together in a small cup or bowl and add ice water. In a food processor, pulse flour, salt and butter until a coarse, crumbly meal forms. Add liquid and quickly run processor just until a ball of dough forms. Immediately stop processor, remove dough and flatten into a disk. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put rockfish on a lightly greased sheet pan and season with lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and crab boil seasoning, to taste. Roast until fish is firm to the touch and flakes easily, about 15 to 20 minutes depending on thickness of fillets. Set aside.

Remove galette dough from refrigerator, lightly dust with flour and roll out to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Using a 1 1/2 to 2" cookie cutter, or a lightly floured glass, cut dough into circles and put on a lightly greased baking sheet. Score each circle with the tines of a fork and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. If the galettes are puffing up too much, put a second, ungreased cookie sheet on top of the first to weight the dough down slightly. Remove galettes from oven and top with warm flaked rockfish, truffle oil and chives (if using). Serve immediately.


Region: Southeast

Popular state fish: Red Snapper, Grouper, Shrimp, Flounder, Triggerfish

Our recipe pick: Citrus-Pickled Shrimp

By Robert Stehling of resturant Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC

2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

3 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined

6 bay leaves, crumbled

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons crushed mustard seeds

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric


Add the Old Bay Seasoning to a large pot of water, cover and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until they just start to curl, about 1 minute. Drain and spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Cool to room temperature.

In a large resealable plastic bag, mix the bay leaves with the lemon and orange juices, garlic, olive oil, onion, mustard seeds, salt, crushed pepper, celery seeds and turmeric. Add the shrimp and seal; refrigerate overnight.

Transfer the shrimp and marinade to a large, shallow bowl and serve.

Notes: To devein shrimp, slit the curled side of the shrimp with scissors to expose the intestinal tract (the vein), which can be clear or black. Pull out the veins with the tip of a knife or your fingers. For shrimp served as finger food, like in this recipe, it's best to leave their tail shells on so guests can pick them up easily.


Region: Gulf Coast

Popular state fish: Cobia, Amberjack, Flounder, Yellowtail Snapper, Wahoo, Gulf Oysters

Our recipe pick: Voivedich Family Oyster Dressing Recipe

Serves about 10 to 12


1 loaf New Orleans-style French bread, stale, cut into cubes

2 pints large Louisiana oysters plus reserved liquor

1 cup small diced celery

1/2 cup green onion, sliced and chopped fine

1/4 cup finely minced parsley 

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

2 eggs, beaten

8-12 ounces chicken stock, low sodium, as needed

Salt, if needed

White pepper, to taste

Sprinkle bread crumbs on top, if desired


Place stale bread cubes in a food processor and pulse lightly once or twice to break up bread, but retain bite-size pieces. Place bread in large mixing bowl. Pour whole oysters and liquid into large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until oysters are just slightly curled. Immediately spoon oysters in bowl with bread and lightly toss. Reserve liquid.

Return skillet to heat and melt butter. Saute celery until just translucent. Add green onions and parsley and cook for another minute. Add seasoning to bread and oysters. Gently add beaten eggs and stir until just mixed. Check for moistness and add oyster liquid as needed. Then, add stock to moisten as needed. The amount of stock will vary depending on how much oyster liquid is available. Breading should be soaked through and wet with no dry spots.

Place dressing in buttered casserole dish.  And cover lightly with foil. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top, if desired. Bake in a 350-degree oven until light and bubbling, about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1-1/2 hours. Check at 1 hour to ensure it does not over-bake. For final 5 or 10 minutes, remove foil and brown top of dressing.


Region: Midwest

Popular state fish: Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, Muskie, Walleye, Carp, Rainbow Trout

Our recipe pick: Smoked Trout Pate

by Jill Santopietro from


1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tablespoon drained and rinsed capers
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 medium lime
Freshly ground black pepper
10 ounces smoked trout meat (from about three 8-ounce whole smoked trout)
Crackers or thinly sliced toasts, for serving


In a medium, nonreactive bowl, combine the crème fraîche or sour cream, capers, chives, tarragon, paprika, cayenne, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, break the trout into bite-sized pieces, discarding any bones and skin. Add the fish to the crème fraîche mixture. Stir rapidly with a spoon, using the spoon to break up the fish, until the mixture is a spreadable consistency. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve on crackers or thinly sliced toasts.


Region: Northwest

Popular state fish: Steelhead, Clams, Chinook Salmon, Kokanee, Coho

Our recipe pick: Clam & Sausage Stuffing

By Todd English for


¾ pound loaves of day-old country bread cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 ½ cups chopped celery
3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 dozen shucked Littleneck clams, liquor reserved
salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In shallow baking pans arrange the bread cubes in one layer, bake in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden, and transfer to a large bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and sauté the sausage, breaking it apart with a fork as it cooks. Remove with a slotted spoon and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.  Add the garlic, onion, celery, thyme and sage over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the bread. Add the mustard, parsley, melted butter, Littleneck clams, sausage, salt and pepper to taste, toss the stuffing well, and let it cool completely.

Region: Pacifc Southwest 

Popular state fish: Tuna, Mackerel, Perch, Mako, Rockfish, Halibut, Croaker

Our recipe pick: Roasted Halibut with Lemons, Olives and Rosemary

by Melissa Clark for NY Times Cooking


2 (8-ounce) halibut fillets, preferably at least 1-inch thick
1 ½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, more to taste
 Kosher salt
 Ground chile pepper, preferably Turkish or Aleppo
2 rosemary branches
1 small lemon, very thinly sliced
¼ cup sliced, pitted calamata or other good-quality black olives

Region: Hawaii

Popular state fish: Barracuda, Bonefish, Bluefin Trevally, Grouper, Snapper, Mahi Mahi, Ono

Our recipe pick: Steamed Mahimahi Laulau

By Kate Washington for Sunset Magazine

About 8 large fresh ti leaves or 1 package (1 lb.) thawed frozen banana leaves
1 1/2 pounds mahimahi fillets, rinsed and patted dry
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 large carrot, peeled
1 red bell pepper, stem and inner ribs trimmed
8 green onions, white and pale green parts only
1 tablespoon butter
1 piece fresh ginger (4 in.), peeled and minced
2 limes, cut into wedges
About 1 1/2 tbsp. Hawaiian red clay salt or sea salt


If using ti leaves, cut each leaf in half along center rib and discard rib. If using banana leaves, soak in warm water to soften. Tear 12 long, narrow strips from 1 or 2 leaves and boil 30 seconds; drain. Cut remaining leaves with the grain into 24 strips, each about 12 in. by 3 in.

Cut fish into 12 equal pieces (about 2 in. by 2 in. each) and sprinkle both sides with coarse kosher salt. Chill 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cut carrot, bell pepper, and green onions into 2-in. lengths and then cut into thinnest possible slivers. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add vegetables and ginger and sauté, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Arrange 2 strips of ti or banana leaves, shiny sides down, on top of one another in a cross shape. Place 1 mahimahi piece in center of cross, then top with a generous tbsp. vegetable mixture. Beginning with lower strip, fold leaves over filling, alternating strips and using each new strip to fold loose end of previous strip over filling. Tuck last strip beneath packet, then tie closed with boiled leaf strips. Repeat with remaining leaf strips, fish, and vegetables.

Set a rack or steamer basket in a large pot and add water to about 1/2 in. below top of rack. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Place fish packets in a single layer on rack or in basket (steam in batches if necessary). Cover pot tightly and steam until fish is just barely opaque in the center, 6 to 10 minutes (do not overcook; cut to test). Tip packets to drain any water. Serve hot or warm, with lime wedges and Hawaiian red clay salt.


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