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#ShowUsYourSeafood Challenge: Results Are In!

December 28, 2020

Staff at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center participated in a #ShowUsYourSeafood Challenge to help support NOAA Fisheries’ #EatSeafoodAmerica campaign. The competition was fierce. Judging was tough. These seven dishes rose above the rest.

Graphic of seven winning dishes in the NEFSC Show Us Your Seafood Challenge

You likely won’t find anyone more proud of their region’s seafood than those in New England and Mid-Atlantic. Naturally this includes our staff at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Knowing this, we decided to issue a seafood challenge to our staff. We wanted them to show us their culinary seafood creations and help support the #ShowUsYourSeafood social media campaign and national Eat Seafood, America! campaign

Like many cooking competition TV shows, we had some tricks up our sleeves. We created some categories to “encourage” our staff to be creative, get a little meta—personal even. However, where we differed from these shows was in judging. Normally, we’d have a panel of judges tasting all the delectable dishes, but we don’t live in normal times right now. Instead, we asked participants to submit their best foodie pics, tell us a little about their dish and ingredients, what they like most about their dish, and more. 

We had three categories: Family Fave, Budget Bites, and Overall Seafood with the first two categories highlighting our region’s seafoods. The Family Fave category was for treasured family recipes. For Budget Bites, the dish was to feed four (two adults and two children) for $20 or less. The great challenge ended last month and the competition was fierce with so many delicious looking entries. Judges had a tough time deciding, but results are in. Now, let’s meet our winners and learn about their amazing culinary seafood creations!

Family Fave

A favorite or treasured family seafood recipe that uses seafood from our region. 

Winner: Bridget Harner with Garlic Scallop Anti-Pasta Bowl (Gluten Free)

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Bay scallops served in a bowl.

Snapshot bio: Bridget is assistant Mid-Atlantic area lead in the Fisheries Monitoring and Operations Branch.

Learn more about Bridget

Recipe Source: Personal recipe

Ingredients: Bay scallops, spaghetti squash, fresh spinach or kale, parsley, garlic, pre-made or homemade spicy marinara sauce, tapioca flour, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, parmesan cheese (optional), pre-made or homemade pesto (optional), lemon

Why She Likes It: Bridget says she loves this dish because it uses one skillet and is made with simple and good ingredients. It is also a healthier seafood option that sneaks in some greens too. She wanted to make a recipe her friend could enjoy, including things like vegan pesto without parmesan cheese since her friend is sensitive to both gluten and dairy. Plus this recipe uses homegrown ingredients. She made the pesto from basil grown in her garden this summer and the spicy marinara sauce was gifted to her from a coworker who made it using tomatoes and ghost peppers from their garden. This challenge overlapped with the opening of the recreational bay scallop season in Nantucket Sound. Bridget harvested these bay scallops by snorkeling in local harbors. She says while it’s very cold to collect them and laborious to shuck them, it’s worth it when you bite into one.

Runner Up: Toni Chute with Just The Essentials: Roasted Haddock

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Baked haddock served with roasted vegetables on a plate.

Snapshot bio: Toni is a biological science lab technician in our Population Dynamics Branch.

Learn more about Toni

Recipe Source: Mom’s recipe 

Ingredients: Fresh haddock, fresh or stale bread, fresh chopped herbs or a sprinkling of dried herbs of choice, butter and/or oil

Why She Likes It: Toni likes this recipe because It’s so quick and easy to make and it’s the most delicious way to enjoy fish. The bread adds a little textural crunch on top and the herbs provide freshness and complements the fish without being overwhelming. She says you can easily roast some vegetables while baking the fish too, making it a healthy meal with only a few dishes to wash.

Budget Bites

A seafood recipe that uses seafood from our region and feeds four people, two adults and two children, for $20 or less. 

Winner: Jenn Turek with Tautog Triumph

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Tautog fillets served with dill, rice, and asparagus on a plate.

Snapshot Bio: Jenn is a junior acoustician in our Protected Species Branch.

Learn more about Jenn

Recipe Source: Personal recipe

Ingredients: Freshly caught tautog, butter, garlic, dill, salt and pepper

Why She Likes It: Jenn says this recipe is simple, quick, fresh, yummy, and local and almost no cost—she caught this fish. Here she serves it with jasmine rice and asparagus prepared with lemon and butter.

Runner Up: Kathy Abney with Pasta and Clam Sauce

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Clams in red sauce boiling in a pan on a stove.

Snapshot Bio: Kathy is a management support assistant in the Fishery Monitoring and Research Division.

Learn more about Kathy

Recipe Source: Personal recipe

Ingredients: Freshly dug quahogs, premade pasta sauce with basil, olive oil, garlic, fresh parsley from the garden

Why She Likes It: Kathy personally dug the quahogs from beautiful Waquoit Bay on the southern shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She serves the dish with home-grown parsley from her garden. Using personally harvested shellfish and homegrown herbs helps make this a budget-friendly meal for her family. She says it’s simple to make and can easily be served over angel hair pasta and crusty garlic bread to sop up the delicious sauce.

Overall Seafood

This category could include seafood from across the nation.

Winner: Starrina Starr with three great dishes

Almond Flour Battered Gulf Flounder

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Flounder fillets served with green beans on a plate.

Starrina’s Snapshot Bio: Starrina is a senior software engineer, applications programmer, and developer, for our Budget and Finance Branch.

Learn more about Starrina

Recipe Source: Revamped FishWatch Battered Fish Recipe

Ingredients: Gulf flounder, Shiner Bock beer, almond flour, egg whites, seasoning, oil

Why She Likes It: Starrina likes this recipe because it’s a quick and easy recipe. She says years ago my husband worked on a shrimp boat in the Texas Gulf and he would bring home quite a bit of flounder. They decided to try the FishWatch recipe using Gulf flounder. She says it turned out great and that almond flour is a great no/low carb option if you’re watching carbs!  

Shrimp Zucchini Noodles with Quasi Pesto Sauce

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Shrimp served with zucchini noodles and pesto on a plate.

Recipe Source: Personal recipe

Ingredients: Gulf shrimp, zucchini, spinach, garlic, lemon, crushed red pepper, parmesan cheese, almonds (optional), oil

Why She Likes It: Starrina says this recipe is quick and easy, and economically friendly. She was able to purchase all the ingredients at the grocery store for $19.95 and fed a family of four, two adults and two children, with enough for seconds or leftovers for one or two people.

Elegant Dungeness Crab with Garlic Cauliflower Mash, Beets and Onion

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Dungeness crab served with mash potatoes on a plate

Recipe Source: Inspired by my favorite restaurant in San Francisco, California, Thanh Long and their roast crab dish

Ingredients: Dungeness crab, garlic, butter, vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Side dish ingredients: cauliflower, yellow onion, beets, heavy whipping cream, parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil

Why She Likes It: Starrina says while this dish is elegant and perfect for a date night or a fancy dinner party, it’s also very quick and easy to make, and filling. She says it’s perfect for an anniversary or special night out! It’s a favorite recipe for her and her husband.

For more information, please contact Heather Soulen.

Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on April 01, 2021