What is it about the bright flavor of citrus that goes so well with seafood? Whether squeezing lemon over crab legs, topping your salmon with an orange ginger sauce or mixing up some cilantro and lime shrimp, it’s an undeniable fact: citrus and seafood are a match made in heaven.
Well, as it turns out, there’s actually a decent explanation for this taste preference. The acid of citrus offers a great counterbalance to the “briny” flavor of seafood, creating the perfect combination with every bite. In fact, lemon is even thought to neutralize some unpleasant fishy smells. It’s also why a citrusy white wine is often recommended when you order seafood in a restaurant.
While you certainly don’t need to pair your seafood with citrus to make it delicious, there are plenty of bright, delicious combinations you can try to add a burst of flavor to every seafood dish you cook. Here are a few ideas for how to incorporate citrus creatively in your next seafood dish:
Citrus and Honey Glaze
You know what’s better than the combination of salt and acid? The combination of salt, acid and sweetness, that’s what. Mix up a citrus and honey glaze and pour it over salmon or shrimp kebabs for a truly decadent dinner.
Grapefruit Mint Ceviche
When you mix raw fish with citrus to make ceviche, the acid in the citrus literally hardens the fish through a process called denaturation, which effectively “cooks” the fish. While you can use any citrus combination you choose, we’re partial to the underutilized grapefruit in this scenario. Simply chop up a high quality piece of fish — halibut or cod would work great — and soak it in a combination of fresh lime and grapefruit juice for 20 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Then, drain the juices and combine with sectioned grapefruit, fresh mint and coarse salt. Add some tortilla chips for scooping and you’ll have the ideal snack.
Crab and Avocado Salad With Lime
Why not add another food that’s commonly paired with citrus into the mix? Enter: avocado. Top any salad greens with chilled crab meat and cubed avocado, then drizzle with lime juice and olive oil for a fresh salad that’s anything but ordinary. Feeling extra creative? Add diced mango and honey for a touch of sweetness.
Lemon and Garlic Shrimp
The backbone of so many recipes, lemon and garlic couldn’t be more delicious on shrimp if they tried. Whether you choose a quick pan fry or mix up a sauce to add over pasta, the combination of lemon and garlic offers one of the best ways to enjoy shrimp.
Baked Fish With Citrus and Herbs
Try lemon and dill, orange and basil, lime and cilantro or any citrus and herb combination that sounds good to you.
Of course, there’s always a classic choice: simply squeezing a lemon or lime wedge over your seafood before you dig in. After all, it doesn’t matter how you slice it (pun intended) — citrus and seafood just go well together.