Serious Entertaining: A Summer Seafood Dinner

Serious Entertaining

Seasonal menu planning for the perfect dinner party.


Lobster Ceviche. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Although I am a dedicated carnivore, I try to carve out space in my gustatory calendar for heaps of summer seafood. Summer brings a few seasonal sea goodies, and every fish dish seems to taste better in the roasting summer heat. While meat can bring with it unwanted heaviness, ocean critters tend to go down easily and leave you feeling light, happy, and refreshed.

Here's a seafood supper that is easy to make, mostly healthy, and completely delicious.

Hors D'Oeuvres: Irish Stout Granita with Raw Oysters


Irish Stout Granita with Raw Oysters. [Photograph: Marvin Gapultos]

Though oysters and stout might seem like an odd pairing, the two go together very well. The bitterness of the stout contrasts nicely with the sweetness and saltiness of the oysters and enhances its flavors. Beer granita, however, takes this medley to the next level, as the ice crystals provide a freezing crunchiness that balances out the soft, slick coolness of the molluscs. If you prefer to fry your oysters, check out this recipe. Also, if you're unsure how to properly shuck them, take a look-see at this video.

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Appetizer: Lobster Ceviche

If you're unable to find a pool, swimming hole, or ocean in which to flop about, this ceviche will suffice to cool you off. The cilantro and lime-infused lobster is suitably light and wholly revitalizing. You can, if you so desire, give this dish a seriously fiery kick by adding jalapeños. These hot peppers clash with the lobster's citrus-tinged flavor to create a spicy and cool combo. If you're more into shrimp, this recipe will knock your socks off. And, if you're curious about the science behind ceviche, lookie here.

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Main Course: Fresh Cod in a Paper Bag with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Mint


Fresh Cod in a Paper Bag. [Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

Preparing fish without drying it out can be a tricky task, but certain cooking techniques allow for greater margin of error. One such method is to bake filets, veggies, and spices in paper packets. The little parcels create a sealed environment that makes it difficult for moisture and flavor to escape. If done properly, the seasonings saturate the meat, leaving you with deeply flavorful fare. This recipe calls for sliced chilies, mint, basil, garlic, cherry tomatoes, white wine, olive oil, and butter to be added to the cod packets. Not only is this a seriously tasty dish, it's also low on labor.

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Dessert: Double Chocolate Whoopie Pies


Double Chocolate Whoopie Pies. [Photograph: Yvonne Ruperti]

Although we here at Serious Eats are a little whoopie-pie'ed-out, that doesn't mean that you, our dear readers, can't enjoy this New England staple that is served and revered at clam shacks throughout the Northeast. This variation on the classic bypasses the regular filling in favor of chocolate cream. It's hard to go wrong with this dessert.

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