Healthy Fresh Local Seafood

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Eastern North Carolina is well known for its bountiful seafood. For many years and in many families, local fishermen harvest a wide variety of top-quality seafood products, including shrimp, blue crabs, flounder, grouper, clams, and oysters, among others. Seafood is a prime component of a healthy diet and is easily used in a variety of recipes. Take advantage of our local bounty!!

Down East Baked Flounder

(This is my very favorite way to eat flounder, this may be exactly the way my mom used to do it, but it’s close).


  • 1 4lb or larger flounder, dressed
  • 4 cups potatoes, sliced crosswise in 1/8 inches
  • 1 cup onion, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 slices bacon, more if fish is larger


Score the fish diagonally across the top, three to four slashes, depending on size of the fish. Place potatoes and onion on top and around the fish. Lightly sprinkle fish, potatoes, and onion with salt and pepper. Lay bacon over fish. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees. Continue to bake until potatoes are tender and fish flakes easily. Serves 6-8.

Lemon Butter Caper Baked Flounder


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 skinless local flounder, about 6 ounces each
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp capers
  • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice


  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle the flounder fillets with salt and pepper. Plan in pan and cook, turning once, until the fish flakes easily, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the fillets to serving platter, cover, and keep warm.
  2. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the stock, scraping to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes.
  3. Stir in the capers and lemon juice, then cook the sauce until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour over fillets and serve.

Blackened Fish

(Use a white flesh fish for this recipe, catfish, trout, snapper, or perch)


  • ½ cup salt-free blackening or Cajun seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 4 (5 ounce) fish fillets
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Lemon wedges


  1. Heat a large cast-iron or heavy saucepan over high. Real hot!!
  2. Sprinkle filets evenly with ¼ cup blackening spice mixture, pressing into fish. Add butter to skillet, cook 2 minutes. Flip fillets and cook 2-3 minutes. The fish is done when it flakes apart easily.
  3. Remove fillets to serving plates. Serve with lemon wedges.

Many moons ago, as a 4-H Camp Counselor, we used to dissect a squid, let the campers use the ink to write their name, and then fry them up and eat them. This recipe definitely takes me back!!!

Basic Fried Squid


  • 1 pound clean squid with tentacles, bodies cut into 1/3 to ½ inch rings
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges


  1. Pour enough oil into a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Working in small batches, toss the squid into flour mixture to coat. Carefully add the squid to the oil and fry until crisp and golden, about 1 minute per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Serve calamari with lemon wedges, and your favorite seafood sauce or marinara.

Although they are not really in season, good oysters can still be found to use in yummy recipes, in local seafood restaurants.

(My Favorite) Oysters Rockefeller


  • 2 dozen oysters, shucked
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons celery, finely diced
  • Cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled


  1. Shuck the oysters placing them in a baking pan filled with rock salt to keep them level and prevent the juices from spilling.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, add the garlic, sauté until fragrant, about a minute and mix half of the garlic butter into the breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the spinach, green onion, and celery to the pan and cook until the spinach wilts.
  4. Add the anise liqueur, deglaze the pan and allow most of the liquid to evaporate and remove from heat before seasoning with cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste.
  5. Mix the parsley and Parmesan into the breadcrumbs.
  6. Place a heaping teaspoon of the mixture onto each oyster followed by some bacon and the breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake in a preheated 450°F oven until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Serves 4, each serving contains: Calories 205, Fat 16g (Saturated 9g, Trans 0g), Cholesterol 61mg, Sodium 301mg, Carbs 6g (Fiber 0.8g, Sugars 3.1g), Protein 7.2g

Devils on Horseback

(My friends and I have been making and enjoying this one for years)


  • Fresh oysters
  • Hot Sauce (such as Frank’s)
  • Fresh or purchased cooked bacon pieces


Drain oysters, and place drained oysters in a broiling safe dish, (I actually use a deviled egg dish that can be used in the oven). Cover generously with hot sauce, and top with bacon pieces. Broil in oven until bubbly and the bacon starts to brown. Serve with saltines. Sorry this recipe seems vague, much of it depends on the number of oysters you have, the number of people you are serving, and how much hot sauce you like. Once the oysters are gone the hot sauce and bacon are still deliciously flavored with the oyster liquor, enjoy!!