How to Make a Serious Lobster Roll, and 9 Other Summer Seafood Recipes

These spectacular seafood dishes will add a chill, coastal vibe to your Labor Day cookout—or to any old weeknight meal.

  • New England Lobster Rolls with Lemon-Chive Mayonnaise. Here’s a lobster roll that’ll exceed any New Englander’s high expectations and leave people from other parts of the country speechless. Just think: sweet, tender lobster meat cradled in a warm, buttery roll. But it doesn’t stop there. What really takes the classic lobster roll to new heights is a light layer of lemony mayonnaise and the addition of Boston lettuce leaves, which keep the sandwich from getting soggy.
  • Sweet & Spicy Calamari. Say goodbye to heavy, thick calamari dripping in oil. Great calamari is coated only in a simple mixture of flour, salt, and pepper before it’s fried. That means crisp, crunchy rings that you won’t be able to stop eating. And before you think that this recipe is plain or boring, just take a taste of the chili dipping sauce spiked with honey and sesame oil.
  • Fried Scallop Sandwich. Don’t get us wrong, we love a classic fried fish sandwich, but sometimes it’s good to change things up a little. This recipe subs out fish for scallops, but leaves the most delicious part—the crispy cornmeal breading—in place. And if that wasn’t good enough, the whole sandwich is tied together with an easy-to-prepare salsa verde mayo that’s so irresistible you’ll be eating it by the spoonful.
  • Flamin’ Cajun Shrimp. There’s no better time than summer for a messy dish that you have to peel as you eat. Not only will you get to lick your fingers as you go—they’ll be coated in garlicky, spicy sauce after each shrimp you peel—but the shell-on shrimp have a nicer texture and more delicate flavoring. And you won’t have to go through all that trouble of peeling shrimp—just let your guests do the work.
  • Fish Tacos on the Grill. Fresh seafood and grilling: now that’s what summertime’s all about. And when you combine the two, well you can’t get much more seasonal than that. It’s simple, it’s fresh, and it’s easy to throw together in 20 minutes. We think there’s no better place for fresh white fish than nestled in a warm tortilla with sweet onion, grilled pepper, creamy avocado, and salsa.
  • Crab Beignets with Aïoli Dipping Sauce. Before you serve these to guests, make sure they know that there’s only a finite number. Otherwise, they’ll spend all night begging you to run back to the fryer and whip up some more. There’s no one who can resist the addictive power of crispy shells studded with sweet crab and dipped in a tangy, buttery sauce. Better tell your friends to eat slowly.
  • Simple Fish and Corn. Simple fish and corn is right. Besides fish and corn (the obvious ingredients), you only need olive oil, cayenne, salt, and lemon to make a meal that captures the end of summer perfectly. In the summertime, the flavors of corn and fresh fish stand on their own, so savor them while you still can.
  • Brigit Binns’ Crab Cakes. When you’ve got your hands on local, in-season crab, put it front and center. These crab cakes are practically all crab and nothing else because when you’ve got good crab, why dilute it with fillers? If you’re not lucky enough to live by the Eastern Shore, don’t worry: you can use canned crab meat and the cakes will still taste delicious.
  • Clam Pan Roast. It just doesn’t get easier than a pan roast. Cook fresh clams in butter in a sauté pan, toss them with a quick pan sauce made of cream, spices, and herbs, and spoon them over toasted bread. Because clams love to be slathered in butter and laid upon toast and there’s nothing complicated about it.
  • Cherry Tomato Tequila Butter Salsa with Fried Fish. If someone took everything you loved—crispy fried fish, fresh summer tomatoes, and, of course, tequila—and combined them in one recipe, this is what you’d get. And it turns out that fresh fish loves tequila as much as you do. A good piece of fish would even rather swim in a spicy salsa spiked with tequila and jalapeño than in the ocean.

Summer days should be spent on a little boat in the middle of the ocean, reeling in the fish, hauling up nets full of clams, and harvesting octopus. It’s hard, dangerous work, but when you get home and cook up that fresh seafood, still salty from the ocean water, all of your labor will be worth it.

Ok, so maybe that’s not reality. Maybe summer days are spent in the office instead—or if you’re lucky, next to a pool (with no sea creatures in sight). But it is true that summer is the absolute best time to eat fresh seafood—even if you’re not the one fishing it. Sure, you can get it at all times of the year, but no wintertime seafood can compare to what you’ll taste in August. These seafood recipes will add a chill, coastal vibe to your next get-together or to any old weeknight meal. But you better act fast: summertime isn’t around for much longer and the fish are swimming away.

Click through the gallery above to get the recipes for an end-of-summer seafood blowout.

Written by Food52 (@food52)

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