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8 Great Sauces for Any Kind of Fish

Perfect Recipes for National Sauce Month

    Photo by Grace Parisi

    Some days, dinner is a simple equation: fish + starch + green vegetable = a meal. But the right addition can transform simple ingredients into a dish greater than the sum of its parts — even when making a spectacular meal is the furthest thing from your mind.

    In honor of National Sauce Month, we’ve put together a selection of delicious, easy sauce recipes that’ll wow — and we mean this! — on any fish. These recipes are seriously delicious because the Sitka Seafood Market test kitchen has a resident sauce expert, Culinary Director Grace Parisi. Her 2005 book Get Saucy topped best-of lists and even snagged a prestigious James Beard Award nomination. How many test kitchens can say that? 

    Our advice? Learn even one of these sauce recipes and you’ll never wonder what to do for dinner again. 

    Creamy Lemon Herb Pan Sauce

    The formula for pan sauce is simple but delivers: cook your fish first, then use residual flavor in the pan to build a sauce. This one, made with cream, lemon, and herbs, is a classic.

    Easy Lemon-Pepper Aioli

    Aioli is a sauce of garlic, salt, olive oil, and often egg — in other words, an infused mayo. No need to make yours from scratch, though. Just take your favorite mayo and stir in lemon juice, aromatics, and a drizzle of olive oil. Pair the aioli with anything, but especially fried seafood dishes like fish and chips, crab, or fish cakes.

    Tangy Salsa Verde

    Salsa verde, meaning “green sauce,” is infinitely variable and a great way for budding home chefs to experiment in the kitchen. Add whatever herbs you like, in whatever quantities you like, to whatever dish you’re making — just make sure you have a ladle handy, because yes, it’s that good. Grace Parisi’s tried-and-true formula is a deliciously safe bet and a great point of departure for kitchen improv.

    Romesco Sauce

    Learning to make romesco is another important (but easy!) culinary feat. We’ve modified this traditional Catalan sauce to use sun-dried tomatoes instead of roasted tomatoes, which adds a tanginess to cut the sweetness of the bell pepper. This is especially delicious with grilled or roasted fish or stirred into a simple brothy seafood stew.

    Dead-Simple Tartar Sauce

    This is a true seafood classic, but feel free to play around — swap in cornichons or dill pickles and capers for the sweet relish and tarragon for the dill for a sophisticated remoulade. We all but guarantee you’ll never touch the jarred stuff again and your fish sammies (and fish sammy eaters) will thank you.

    Chimichurri Sauce

    This classic herb-based sauce from Argentina is traditionally served atop grilled meat. However, its tangy punchy flavors (akin to salsa verde with an extra hit of acid) make it an excellent pairing for all seafood, especially rich fish like salmon or sablefish or sweet buttery spot shrimp or crab.

    Classic Basil Pesto

    This is a sauce that needs no introduction. To pair this basil pesto with your monthly share, try mixing a spoonful with softened butter and melting it over a piece of perfectly cooked halibut, or folding it into some pasta with tender salmon or juicy spot shrimp.

    Thai Peanut Sauce

    A basic peanut sauce is a perfect chance to internalize the building blocks of Thai cuisine. Once you learn how to combine fish sauce, peanut butter, curry paste, and lime juice to perfection, you’ve got takeout at your fingertips, whenever you want. Serve it satay-style on grilled fish or shrimp skewers.


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