International Seafood Dishes reflect the distinct culinary techniques and flavors of their region. French seafood dishes have a style and sophistication elevated by the fresh seafood and produce available. Italian seafood dishes thrive on the bounty of the seafood available in their waters, often boasting variety and abundance.
As far back as the 15th and 16th centuries, French cuisine focuses on the elegance and presentation of the meal. Food presentation was critical, and cooks would utilize consumables like egg yolk, saffron, and spinach to create color and elevate their dish’s appearance. The kitchens of France and Italy became more interconnected when Queen Catherine of Florence, Italy, wed Henry II (Duc d’Orleans, France). Catherine brought her Italian cooks, who were far advanced in technique and ingredients, into the French court. While the two countries’ culinary styles have taken different directions, the French may owe a debt of gratitude to the Italians for their culinary advancement. Each country ranks high for favorite international seafood dishes with seasoned travelers looking to satisfy their sophisticated palate.
International Seafood Dishes Offer Excellent Nutrition
Seafood is an international favorite for easily prepared healthy meals. Packed with omega-3s, iron, vitamins B and D, and protein, fish and shellfish provide the nutrients needed for strong bones, brain development, and heart and immune system strength. Fish is rich in calcium and a great source of minerals such as zinc, iodine, and potassium. Vitamin A also offers a boost to the immune system and protects vision.
Seafood is generally considered the perfect high-protein, low fat, low-calorie choice for those watching their food intake. Most low-fat fish species have less than 100 calories per 3 ounces, allowing even the most watchful “foodie” the indulgence of a sumptuous international seafood dish! When looking for various tastes, traditions, and key health benefits, look no further than international seafood dishes that are big on flavor, packed with key nutrients, and easy on the waistline.
Italian Seafood Dishes Celebrate the Sea
Frutti de Mar (Fruit of the Sea) is incredibly popular in Italy. Fish tops the list of favorite Italian seafood dishes available throughout the country. Grilled, ocean-fresh seafood is a staple, such as fish fried in olive oil. Puglia, the “heel” of the “boot” of Italy, features Italian seafood dishes with mussels, octopus, and fish. Typically thought of as a culture that promotes calories and carbs through pizza and pasta, Italian seafood dishes top the list of traditional offerings, owing largely to the fact that most of Italy borders the Mediterranean. Along the coast, you will find dishes that feature shellfish. In the Veneto Region, the eighth largest region in Italy and located along the Adriatic Sea, you will experience Italian seafood dishes featuring shrimp, eel, clams, and fish. In the Liguria Region, known as the Italian Riviera, the menus feature swordfish, sea bass, tuna, and sardines.
Italian Seafood Dishes Create Family Traditions
Italy is such a diverse country, boasting many Italian seafood dishes as traditional holiday celebration fare throughout its twenty regions. In the early 1900s, the United States modernized what was traditionally called an Italian custom for Christmas Eve – the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Today, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is not just for Italian Americans. People from all walks of life celebrate it as a way to get together with friends and family.
The Feast of Seven Fishes centers around seven different Italian seafood dishes or one or two types of fish prepared seven different ways. The tradition of eating fish on Christmas Eve goes back to a Roman Catholic ancient custom that eliminated consuming meat and dairy on certain religious holidays. The number seven is also common in ancient times and is connected to numerous religious symbols. The number appears in the Bible hundreds of times. The Feast of the Seven Fishes traditionally includes these Italian seafood dishes:
Acciughe Marinate alla Ligure (Marinated Anchovies)
Brodetto di Branzino (Wild Sea Bass Soup)
Crudo di Pesce (Fish Tartare)
- Paccheri con Sugo di Mare (Seafood Pasta)
Pesce al Forno (Baked Fish)
- Pesce alla Griglia (Grilled Fish)
- Pesce in Umido (Fish with Roasted Fennel and Taggiasca Olives)
French Seafood Dishes Are Perfectly Prepared
Les fruites de mer (fruits of the sea) are a popular staple of French menus, particularly in coastal cities and the Northern regions. While navigating a French menu, you will discover many tantalizing French seafood dishes to help develop your love of French cuisine. French seafood dishes offer preparation like no other; a French chef would declare that you have never truly tasted sardines if you have not had freshly grilled ones. The preparation of an international seafood dish such as cod is elevated in French cuisine and considered the most popular fish of France. Other French seafood dishes, often seen as unique to France, have much to offer and are often indicative of why French chefs and the French people have an open love affair with fresh seafood. Other favorite French seafood dishes include:
- Bisque: a thick, creamy, pureed soup that traditionally includes cream, seafood, cognac or wine, and spices.
- Bouillabaisse: a traditional dish created by fishermen in Marseille, using what was the best of the leftovers in their nets. This is not simply fish soup!
- Meuniere: named for the cooking technique; a whole fish or fish fillet is lightly dusted in flour and then sauteed in butter.
- Plateau de fruits de mer: A plate of fruits of the sea; traditional French seafood dish of various kinds of fresh shellfish (shrimp, lobster, mussels, crabs) served on a platter, usually over crushed ice.
- Sole Meuniere: classic French seafood dish featuring sole fillets or whole fish, lightly floured and sauteed in butter; lemon juice is added towards the end of cooking.
For your next dinner party, showcase international seafood dishes. You cannot go wrong with Italian seafood dishes or French seafood dishes. Like the chefs of those distinct regions, you will want to find the freshest ingredients available. Whether you are ready to tackle the Feast of Seven Fishes or the fresh, lightly lemon essence of a Sole Meuniere, your guests will experience a virtual trip to the international city of your creation and, either way, the fruits of the sea will not disappoint!