When planning for your Christmas dinner, consider looking to our local waters for a fresh, seafood-centered feast. 

A roasted whole seabass stuffed with herbs and mushrooms makes a statement. A hearty serving of tuna, swordfish or salmon also makes a great main course. 

Cuts of fish like these can be prepared in a variety of ways in the kitchen – or take advantage of our wonderful Southern climate and consider using the grill. The addition of a compound butter made with herbs like tarragon, rosemary or parsley adds a richness and flavor profile that you expect to taste during the holidays. 

The options for incorporating seafood into a traditional Christmas dinner as side dishes are endless. Crab, shrimp and oysters are delicious enhancements to the stuffing. Raw shellfish is welcome any time of the year, and many people serve shrimp cocktail as an appetizer. 

Lobster or crab bisque offers a more delicate opening course. Seared scallops incorporate sweetness to salads or can stand alone as a decadent treat wrapped in bacon. Salmon and other cuts of flaky fish make a scrumptious topper for a creative canapé.  

For dips and spreads, trout is a popular choice. For a cool, light appetizer, ceviche made with red snapper has a big flavor and won’t fill you up early.

The list of feast favorites can go on and on. We in the South love our seafood. Of course, what’s most important about Christmas is the family and friends we gather with around the table. A delicious meal with fresh seafood, prepared with love and care, gives us another reason to be grateful for the holiday season.

Be sure to share your favorite Christmas recipes on social media and tag #TraditionOfSeafoodExcellence.

Charles J. Russo III is the owner of Russo’s Fresh Seafood Bluffton. russosfreshseafood.com