You might not guess that winter is a fantastic season for seafood — after all, most food production experiences a slowdown in the cold. However, you would be mistaken! Winter months get foodies abuzz about all sorts of seafood, especially shellfish. In fact, some kinds of seafood are at their best quality or abundance during the winter when colder waters predominate and spur on certain stages of these food sources’ lifecycles.
At Rib’N Reef, we love offering our customers the freshest seafood of the highest quality, skillfully prepared in our kitchen for the perfect flavor. If you are as obsessed with delicious seafood as we are, check out some of our top choices for the cold weather!
Gulf Oysters and Nantucket Bay Scallops
Oysters spawn in summer throughout the Gulf of Mexico, when they are flabby and not ready for eating. As winter draws near, oysters turn clear and solidify, peaking in quality in January and February. Gulf Coast oysters have a unique, creamy flavor with a “meatier” texture. They also tend to be much bigger than East Coast oysters. Scallops are also fantastic winter seafood. Scallops in Nantucket Bay peak in quality starting November and tapering off toward the middle of winter. Best served when only a day old (or less), Nantucket Bay scallops are renowned for their gentle taste and texture.
Maine uni is a gamey, briny sea urchin from California that chefs and gourmands around the world love. Maine uni’s peak season starts in December and runs until February. Uni, the Japanese word for sea urchin, is a traditional delicacy in Japanese cuisine. Maine’s cold waters are the habitat of “bafun uni,” which became so popular in Japan that overfishing became an issue in the 1980s. Nowadays, Maine uni is sourced much more responsibly and has been making a name for itself in East Coast culinary circles. Rich and buttery, Maine uni is being used in everything, from pasta to pizzas. Once you try it, you will know why.
Northern California Dungeness Crab
The Northern California Dungeness crab is harvested starting in the middle of November into the rest of winter. Dungeness crab is known for standing up well to high-heat roasting and for its big, meaty legs full of incredible flavor. Dungeness crab has a sweet flavor throughout most of its body with a particular saltiness in its claws, making it a delightful combination with pasta, bread, steaks, and more.
If You Love Seafood, Eat It
In the winter months, people in the northern hemisphere are at greater risk for difficulties like seasonal affective disorder (SAD). These issues can leave you feeling lethargic, fatigued, and even depressed. Eating a diet full of healthy seafood servings is one way to combat the seasonal blues. Seafood is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and is the number one edible source of vitamin D. Both of these are critical for overall health, especially for the winter months, when we tend to be out in the sun less often. Whatever your seafood preferences, making sure you get a few fresh dishes a week can be part of a healthy, delicious diet!