Apr 13, 2021

Do’s and Don’ts of Cooking Seafood

Tips and Tricks from OBX Chef Wes Stepp

Cooking seafood is serious business on the Outer Banks. Our friends and neighbors are fishing captains, fish market owners, and restaurant employees, so almost everyone has a good seafood recipe. Many visitors look forward to enjoying fresh Outer Banks seafood during their yearly vacation. Other people state that they don’t like seafood, when, in fact, the seafood may not have been fresh or was prepared incorrectly. We recently met with local OBX chef Wes Stepp to go over the do’s and don’ts of cooking seafood.

✅ Do: 

• Pick out the freshest seafood – find what’s local and in season so you get the freshest seafood possible. Check with a local fishmonger on what’s running right now. Our Guide to Outer Banks fishing gives you an idea of what’s in season when. 

• Look at the whole fish to get an idea of how the filet will be. Look for a clear eye and firm texture. 

• Pick white fish for folks that say they don’t like seafood. Rockfish, flounder, and mahi have a milder flavor. 

• Sear your fish on one side to lock in the flavor and then finish it in the oven. 

• Garnish your seafood dish. Citrus is an excellent accompaniment to fresh seafood. 

• Consider trying farmed oysters. Farmed oysters live in their natural habitat and are tended to by local oyster farmers, many of who sustainably harvest their oysters. 

❌ Don’t:

• Buy filets from a fish that has an opaque or glassed-over eye or mushy texture. It’s most likely been sitting around for too long. 

• Overcook your fish. Fish can get tough and taste different when it’s overcooked. 

• Forget to remove the outer muscle of scallops. The outer muscle gets tough and chewy when cooked and can ruin your impression of scallops. 

• Cook scallops for too long. They may be medium rare when you pull them from the pan, however, they continue to cook while they rest. Overcooked scallops are tough and difficult to eat. 

• Steam your shrimp for too long. Overcooking shrimp can result in shells that are stuck to the meat and difficult to peel. Shrimp are generally finished cooking as soon as they turn pink. 

red sky drinks

If you are relatively new to cooking seafood, you may want to venture to a local OBX restaurant and enjoy fresh seafood prepared for you. You can find Chef Wes Stepp in Duck on the soundfront at NC Coast Grill & Bar or at Red Sky Cafe, located across the street from Duck Town Park. We’re regulars at both restaurants – you won’t be disappointed!

Outer Banks Taste of the Beach

Planning to be on the Outer Banks in the spring? Check out one of our favorite events: Taste of the Beach, which happens in mid-April each year. The annual festival has unique food and drink events taking place throughout the Outer Banks.

Courtney Wisecarver

Courtney Wisecarver

Apr 13, 2021






Send this to a friend