Spellbinding seafood dishes

Create the perfect fall meal with these scary-good recipes from local chefs.

October is National Seafood Month. Make this autumn extra delicious with these salmon, oyster and swordfish recipes from top local chefs that are full of fall flavor. 

Tickled pink

Spring Island has started hosting virtual ChefSteps cooking class for its members. Executive chef Jeremy Halker was joined by Jim Basara, who heads up the volunteers that man the six-acre Waterfall Farm at Spring Island. Items from the farm were used in the recipe. If you’re looking for all of the ingredients to make the coconut kaffir lime broth used in this recipe, Halker recommends two Asian markets in Savannah: Chinatown Market and Viet Huong.

Spring Island – Spice-crusted salmon with coconut kaffir lime infusion

Ingredients (spice mix for salmon)

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed

1 teaspoon fennel seed

2 teaspoons coriander seed

1 teaspoon green or black peppercorn

Directions Toast together for about 2-3 minutes. Let chill and grind coarsely in a spice grinder.

Ingredients (salmon)

2 (6-8 ounce) salmon filets, skin and blood line removed

Sea salt or kosher salt

2 egg whites, lightly whisked to create a foaminess

Grapeseed or light olive oil for searing

Directions Season salmon with salt, then using a pastry brush, take egg white foam and evenly coat the show side of the salmon. Coat with spice mix. In a flat sauté pan put about 4 tablespoons of oil and sear fish spice-side down for approximately 2-3 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Finish in a 400-degree convection oven for 4-5 minutes, until medium rare. Increase the amount of oven time depending upon your preference of temperature.

Ingredients (infusion)

1/2 cup Vidalia onion, sliced thin

2 shallots, sliced thin

1 inch ginger, peeled and smashed

4 garlic cloves, smashed

2 jalapeños, sliced and seeded if you do not like it too hot

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin including tops

2 stalks lemongrass, peeled, smashed and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

8 kaffir lime leaves

Herb stems (see below)

1 inch of kombu

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon lime juice

Directions Combine onion, shallot, ginger, garlic, fennel, herb stems, kombu, jalapeño, olive oil in a pot and sweat until translucent. Add water, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and bring to a simmer, cover and let steep for about 20 minutes. Strain and season with salt and lime juice.

Ingredients (herb puree)

2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons mint leaves

2 tablespoons basil leaves

2 tablespoons tarragon

2 tablespoons dill

2 tablespoons chives

3 green Thai chilis, with seeds

Directions Pack all herbs, chilis and broth in vita prep or high-powered blender. Start on low and slowly increase until sauce is smooth and bright green. Taste, season with salt, taste again and enjoy.

To serve (2 portions)
Cook your favorite vegetables — asparagus, carrots, greens, spinach, arugula, etc. (any vegetable will work for this dish). In a bowl or plate, place vegetables in middle, spoon 3 ounces of the herb infusion, top with spiced salmon and garnish with microgreens.

Virtual cooking lesson

Create the spice-crusted salmon with coconut kaffir lime infusion recipe by following a two-part video with Spring Island executive chef Jeremy Halker and Jim Basara of Waterfall Farm. Find the videos here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Sword play

New Berkeley Hall Club executive chef Jeff McKinney makes a strong first impression with this sophisticated swordfish dish featuring pepperonata, an Italian dish of stewed peppers, onions and tomatoes. The addition of black olive pesto and parmesan risotto makes it excellent!

Berkeley Hall Club – Pumpkin swordfish, pepperonata, black olive pesto & parmesan risotto

Ingredients (swordfish)

4 (8-ounce) swordfish pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

Salt and pepper

Directions [1] Marinate fish in olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs. [2] Grill to desired doneness. Plate over risotto and black olive pesto and top with pepperonata, as pictured.

Ingredients (pepperonata)

6 bell peppers, different colors, cut into 1/4-inch slices

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

10 basil leaves

2 cups of tomatoes, deseeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices

8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pinch of black pepper and salt

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions [1] Add the olive oil to a saucepan and place over a medium-low heat. Add the garlic, onions and basil and sauté until extremely soft. [2] Add the sliced peppers to the pan, stir and cover with a lid. Cook over a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. [3] Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until the peppers are very tender, but not mushy as they should still hold their shape. Either season and serve while warm, or allow to cool before finishing and serving. [4] Just before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish the pepperonata with the balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients (black olive pesto)

15 black (preferably Kalamata) olives

Parsley, the leaves of a medium-sized bunch

2 anchovy fillets

1 tablespoon capers

1 shallot

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil or more if needed

Black pepper

Directions Mix ingredients in a food processor to a smooth paste. Season with lemon juice and mustard, to taste.

Ingredients (parmesan risotto)

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup shallots, diced

1 1/4 cups risotto rice

1 1/2 cup of water

1/2 cup parmesan, grated

1 tablespoon truffle oil

Directions [1] Melt the butter over a medium heat and sweat the shallots without browning for 2 minutes. Add the rice to the shallots and cook for 2 minutes. [2] Pour over half the water and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and cook slowly for 14 minutes, adding the water gradually and seasoning as required. Remove from the heat, add the parmesan cheese and truffle oil. Stir gently with a plastic spatula.

Aw shucks

Oyster season is in full swing here in the Lowcountry. This incredible appetizer from the menu at Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar kicks it up a few notches with white cheddar, country ham, lump crab and baby spinach.

Alexander’s – Oysters Alexander

(This recipe serves 4 people and can be plated party style or individually.)


12 fresh oysters, shucked

6 ounces smoked bacon, cooked and chopped

6 ounces jumbo lump crab meat

6 ounces Harlech horseradish cheddar cheese

2 lemons, sliced and grilled

1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced

1 cup rock salt

Directions [1] Take the oysters and rinse the dirt off the exterior with cold water. Using a protective glove and a shucking knife, gently shuck the oysters. [2] The next step is the assembly. For each oyster, add 1/2 oz of crab meat. The next layer is 1/2 ounce of smoked bacon. The last layer is the horseradish cheddar cheese. For this, shave off a thin layer of the cheese and place on top of the oyster. [3] Heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the oysters on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook the oysters for 8 minutes or until bubbly and caramelized on top. Carefully remove from the oven. Use the rock salt as a bed to keep the oysters in place and arrange on your desired platter. Garnish with slices of grilled lemon and chives. Enjoy!

Eat fresh

In-season produce for October.

Find these vegetables fresh at local markets and shops.

  • Apples
  • Asian Pears
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Greens
  • Herbs
  • Kale
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

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