It's safe to say the 2020 holiday season will be like the rest of the year, full of unknowns with traditions upended. Will we be traveling to see relatives with a pie tucked in its box in the trunk? Unlikely. Will we be hosting dozens of friends, an enormous turkey and two types of stuffing at the center of the table? Probably not. But what we could do is embrace the change. On a day like Thanksgiving that gets so much of its meaning from the traditions families and friends build around it, this feels easier said than done.
But if nothing else, 2020 has been about adapting to change. With travel curtailed and guest lists staying small, here’s a plan: toss out the idea of a downsized turkey dinner and do something different altogether. We’re biased, but a pescatarian feast might be just the thing. Sure, seafood fits the bill for a simple weeknight dinner, but it can also be super-festive. If you lean on domestic species, you can still support and celebrate American foodways. It’s (part of) what Thanksgiving is all about, no matter the size of your crew. And you can still have pie.
So instead of a sit-down dinner, make Thanksgiving a rolling feast.
Start out light with some bubbly and American caviar — we have so many varieties, including bowfin, hackleback, paddlefish, California sturgeon, and salmon. Try it spooned over a dab of creme fraiche on a potato chip, or use it to top smoked trout toasts.
Move on to a luxurious little snack in the form of butter-poached lobster BLT’s. Our Maine lobster has a dense, meaty texture that’s super satisfying, especially when it’s cooked in butter.
Take your time moving toward the next course, the timeless and always-crowd-pleasing bacon-wrapped scallops. This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen par-cooks the bacon before wrapping it around the scallop to ensure it renders fully and gets crispy. Then the little bundles are grilled — which is perfect because you can do your next course on the grill, too…
A dish that’s as beautiful as it is perfect for a group, seafood paella can be filled with any combination of seafood you like — a mix of scallops, lobster, and sword makes for a festive centerpiece of a meal.
And just to keep things feeling like fall — add this old-school whole roasted monkfish tail to the table, too — with shallots, apples and thyme in a creamy white wine sauce, the dish has Thanksgiving written all over it. Or it will, once you’ve ushered in the new fish-centric Thanksgiving.