When it comes to cooking fish, herbs and spices are your best friends. They can transform a simple filet of fish into a gourmet dish bursting with flavor. Whether you prefer your fish grilled, baked, or pan-fried, the right combination of herbs and spices can elevate your meal to a whole new level.
The team at NC Seafood, a Raleigh Calabash-style seafood restaurant is exploring the best seasoning for fish in this post. Join us as we discover the amazing flavor profiles and cooking techniques for getting the most out of your herbs and spices when seasoning seafood dishes.
The Best Seasoning for Salmon
Most people would agree that salmon is one of the best-tasting fish there is– however, when it comes to finding ways to enhance the sweetness of salmon, there is a fine line between flavors that will enhance its flavor rather than overpower it. When it comes to the best seasoning for fish (salmon), a delicate balance of flavors is essential to enhance the natural richness of this popular fish.
Dill is a delicate herb with a bright, fresh flavor that pairs exceptionally well with salmon, making it one of the best seasonings for fish. Its feathery green leaves and fragrant seeds are both used in cooking. Dill It brings a subtle anise-like aroma that doesn’t overpower the natural taste or sweetness of the salmon.
Here’s how to use dill with salmon:
- Fresh Dill Sprigs: One of the most common ways to use dill is to layer fresh dill sprigs on top of salmon filets before baking or grilling. The heat will cause the dill’s essential oils to infuse the salmon with its delightful flavor.
- Dill Sauce: Create a dill sauce by combining fresh chopped dill, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and a touch of garlic. This creamy and herby sauce can be served alongside grilled or baked salmon for a burst of flavor.
Lemon zest refers to the outermost layer of the lemon peel, which is rich in aromatic essential oils. It offers a bright, citrusy, and zesty flavor without the tartness of lemon juice. Lemon zest is known for its ability to elevate the freshness and vibrancy of dishes, making it a great choice when looking for the best seasoning for fish like salmon.
Here’s how to use lemon zest with salmon:
- Lemon Zest Butter: Mix lemon zest into softened butter along with minced garlic, chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley or chives), and a pinch of salt. Spread this lemon zest butter over your cooked salmon for a luxurious and tangy finish.
- Lemon Zest Marinade: Combine lemon zest, olive oil, minced garlic, a splash of lemon juice, and your choice of herbs to create a tangy marinade for your salmon. Allow the fish to soak up the flavors for a short time before grilling or baking.
Cardamom Spice Blend
When you use cardamom to season salmon, you’ll experience a harmonious blend of flavors. The cardamom’s spicy and slightly sweet undertones mingle with the salmon’s buttery texture, resulting in a dish that’s both fragrant and savory.
Here are some ways to use cardamom in cooking salmon:
- Brown Sugar, Mirin, and Cardamom Glaze: Create a delightful glaze by mixing brown sugar, mirin (a sweet Japanese rice wine), and ground cardamom in a saucepan. Brush this glaze over your salmon filets before roasting or grilling.
- Cardamom and Fennel Crust: Combine ground cardamom and ground fennel seeds with breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt to make a cardamom-fennel crust. Coat your salmon filets in a thin layer of olive oil and then press them into the mixture before pan-searing the salmon.
The Best Seasoning for White Fish
White fish, known for its mild and delicate flavor, provides the perfect canvas for a variety of seasonings that can elevate its taste to new heights.
Ginger and Lemongrass
Ginger and lemongrass are aromatic and vibrant ingredients that bring a delightful fusion of flavors to your white fish dishes.
Create a zesty and aromatic seasoning for your white fish with ginger and lemongrass:
- Ginger and Lemongrass Marinade: Create a flavorful mixture of minced ginger, chopped lemongrass, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, and honey, used to infuse white fish with zesty and aromatic flavors before baking or grilling.
- Ginger and Lemongrass Thai Curry: Utilize these ingredients for a Thai-inspired dish featuring white fish chunks cooked in a rich and fragrant coconut milk-based sauce flavored with ginger, lemongrass, and red curry paste.
Parsley, Paprika, and Red Pepper Flake Blend
The blend of parsley, paprika, and red pepper flakes brings a harmonious balance of earthiness, heat, and vibrant green freshness to your white fish.
Elevate the flavor of your white fish using this flavorful blend in the following ways:
- Parsley-Paprika Rub: Mix finely chopped fresh parsley with paprika and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Rub this mixture over your white fish before cooking, creating a savory and herbaceous crust when seared or grilled.
- Parsley-Paprika Topping: Create a parsley and paprika topping by blending chopped parsley with smoked paprika and red pepper flakes. Spoon this flavorful mixture over your baked or broiled white fish just before serving.
Cajun Spice Blend
A Cajun spice blend is a flavorful seasoning mixture commonly used in Southern and Creole cuisine to add a bold and zesty kick to dishes. While the exact ingredients can vary from recipe to recipe, a typical Cajun spice blend often includes black pepper, smoked paprika, onion and garlic powders, celery salt, thyme, and oregano. Cajun spice blends are one of the best seasonings for cod, haddock, or tilapia, making it a great choice for making seafood gumbo. It’s a versatile seasoning that can transform your white fish into a mouthwatering dish with a distinctly Southern flair.
Some ideas for using a cajun spice blend with white fish include:
- Cajun Dry Rub: Make a Cajun dry rub by mixing your cajun spice blend and coating your white fish filets generously before grilling or pan-searing. The rub forms a flavorful crust on the fish, creating a spicy and smoky outer layer that contrasts beautifully with the mildness of the white fish.
- Cajun Mayo: Cajun mayo is a spicy and creamy condiment that combines mayonnaise with Cajun spice blend, hot sauce, and other seasonings. It adds a bold and zesty kick to dishes like fried fish tacos or fish sandwiches, enhancing their flavor with a delightful blend of spices and a creamy texture.
The Best Seasoning for Swordfish
Swordfish, known for its firm texture and meaty flavor, pairs wonderfully with seasonings that enhance its natural taste. Two exceptional seasonings that can elevate swordfish steak are the Peri Peri Blend and the Garlic, Rosemary, and Parsley Blend.
Peri Peri Blend
The Peri Peri Blend, also known as piri piri, is a spice mixture with roots in African and Portuguese cuisine. It’s characterized by its fiery and robust flavor profile of citrus, chili peppers, and garlic.
Incorporate the unique flavors of a peri peri blend in the following ways to make it one of the best seasoning for fish options for your swordfish dishes:
- Peri Peri Rub: A peri peri rub is a tantalizing blend of spices and herbs. When generously applied to swordfish, it infuses the fish with a fiery kick and a rich, smoky flavor, creating a mouthwatering contrast to the mildness of the swordfish. This best seasoning for fish is a crowd-pleaser.
- Peri Peri Dipping Sauce: Peri Peri sauce is the ultimate condiment for swordfish enthusiasts seeking an explosion of flavor. This fiery sauce is a fusion of chili peppers, citrus, herbs, and spices, offering a symphony of taste sensations. When used as a dipping sauce alongside grilled swordfish, it provides a spicy, flavorful kick.
Italian Spice Blend
This classic Italian spice blend for swordfish combines aromatic garlic with a medley of dried herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme. When generously rubbed onto swordfish steaks before grilling, it imparts a delightful mix of savory flavors and a fragrant aroma, enhancing the natural richness of the fish.
Here are some of the best seasoning for fish ideas when it comes to blending Italian flavors for a unique herb blend:
- Garlic Herb Butter: A luscious garlic herb butter is a versatile accompaniment that can take your swordfish to the next level. Crafted by blending fresh minced garlic, finely chopped herbs like parsley and chives, and a generous portion of creamy butter, this flavorful concoction can be used to baste, finish, or serve alongside grilled swordfish.
- Italian Herb Crust: Create a delightful Italian herb crust for your swordfish by mixing breadcrumbs with a medley of dried Italian herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme, along with grated Parmesan cheese and a hint of garlic powder before baking.
The Best Seasoning for Tuna
Tuna, with its firm and meaty texture, offers a canvas for a wide range of seasonings to shine.
Mediterranean Herb Blend
The Mediterranean Herb Blend is a versatile seasoning mix inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean region. It typically includes a harmonious combination of herbs such as oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, and savory. These herbs collectively offer a complex and aromatic flavor profile characterized by earthiness, herbal notes, and a hint of citrus.
Here’s how to use it so that it becomes one of your favorite and best seasoning for fish dishes:
- Herb-Crusted Tuna: Coat your tuna steaks or filets with a generous amount of Mediterranean Herb Blend mixed with olive oil. Press the herbs onto the tuna, creating a flavorful crust. Pan-sear or grill the tuna to perfection for a crispy, herb-infused exterior.
- Mediterranean Marinade: Create a Mediterranean marinade by combining the herb blend with minced garlic, lemon juice, and extra-virgin olive oil. Let the tuna soak in this aromatic mixture for at least 30 minutes before cooking. It infuses the fish with a burst of Mediterranean flavors.
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Toasted sesame seeds are tiny, nutty-flavored seeds derived from sesame plants. Toasting them enhances their flavor, bringing out a delightful nuttiness and a hint of smokiness. They have a satisfying crunch and a slightly sweet undertone that complements a wide range of dishes, particularly tuna steaks.
How to use sesame seeds with tuna:
- Sesame-Crusted Tuna: Coat your tuna steaks with a generous layer of sesame seeds. You can press the seeds onto the fish to ensure they adhere well. Sear the tuna briefly on each side to get the seeds toasted for a flavorful crust while keeping the center rare or medium rare.
- Sesame Soy Glaze: Create a glaze by combining toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, honey, minced ginger, and a dash of rice vinegar. Drizzle this glaze over seared or grilled tuna for a savory-sweet and nutty flavor enhancement.
Contact NC Seafood Today for Perfectly Seasoned Fish in Raleigh
Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a seafood enthusiast, our selection of perfectly fried seafood and fish dishes will leave you satisfied you’ve experienced some of the best seasoning for fish in North Carolina.
Come pay us a visit at Raleigh Farmer’s Market or sign up for our e-newsletter which goes out once a month. We look forward to serving you soon!