I’m often asked about my favorite French recipes that utilize the incredible seafood found along the coasts of France. That’s why in today’s post I’m excited to share some of the best and most classic French seafood dishes that I think you should add to your repertoire!
While American seafood tends to spotlight favorites like shrimp, salmon, and tuna, the French take advantage of a wide variety of ocean offerings. The key to French seafood prep is letting the natural flavors shine through without overcomplicating. Simple herbs, lemon, butter or olive oil, and occasional white wine allow the fresh catch to be the star.
Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal or an elegant dinner party main, these French seafood specialties will transport your meal to the seaside cafes of Marseille or bistros of Paris. Read on for my top traditionally French seafood recipe picks, along with tips for finding sustainable sources of the best fish and shellfish to do them justice!
Here are 10 classic French seafood recipes:
- Bouillabaisse: Originating from Marseille, this fish stew combines various fish like monkfish, red mullet, and shellfish with tomatoes, onions, garlic, saffron, and herbs, simmered in a flavorful broth.
- Moules Marinières: Hailing from Normandy, this dish features fresh mussels cooked in a broth made with white wine, shallots, garlic, parsley, and sometimes cream, resulting in a delicious and aromatic combination.
- Coquilles Saint-Jacques: A specialty from Brittany, this dish comprises scallops cooked in a creamy white wine sauce, often served gratinéed with breadcrumbs and Gruyère cheese.
- Salade Niçoise: Originating from Nice, this salad combines tuna, anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, olives, and green beans, dressed with a vinaigrette, creating a refreshing and colorful dish.
- Sole Meunière: A classic French preparation for sole, where the fish is dredged in flour, pan-fried in butter, and served with a sauce made from the pan drippings, lemon juice, and parsley.
- Tarte aux Fruits de Mer: This seafood tart often includes a medley of seafood like shrimp, scallops, and fish combined with a creamy sauce, baked in a pastry crust until golden brown.
- Cassoulet de la Mer: Inspired by the traditional cassoulet from southwestern France, this seafood version includes various fish, shellfish, and sometimes white beans cooked in a rich tomato-based sauce.
- Brandade de Morue: A dish originating from Nîmes, it consists of salt cod blended with olive oil, milk, garlic, and sometimes mashed potatoes, served as a creamy and flavorful spread.
- Pissaladière: Though not exclusively seafood, this dish from Provence features a savory tart topped with caramelized onions, olives, and anchovies, offering a distinct Mediterranean flavor.
- Gratin de Fruits de Mer: A gratin dish comprising mixed seafood, such as shrimp, mussels, and fish, combined with a creamy sauce, topped with breadcrumbs and cheese, then baked until bubbly and golden.
These French seafood recipes showcase a diverse array of flavors and regional influences, reflecting the richness of French cuisine when it comes to preparing seafood.