Spend Turkey Day Like a Mainer: 7 Seafood Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

Our cottage doors may be closed by the time Turkey Day rolls around, but who says we can’t all celebrate Ogunquit-style seven days a week, 365 days a year? Sinking your fork into succulent seafood is a must when in Maine, and taking those tastes to the Thanksgiving plate keeps the Vacationland vibes fresh with a promise of smiles and full tummies on each side of the dinner table. Cook up a mouthwatering Maine Thanksgiving with these simple, traditional, and delicious seafood Thanksgiving menu ideas (Mainer tested and approved).

In coastal Maine, it's easy to sprout seafood Thanksgiving menu ideas.

Appetizer: Pumpkin and Shrimp Bisque

Sorry, peas and carrots — turns out that pumpkin and prawns are the perfect pairing, and they’re just right for starting off your seasonal supper. A hearty pumpkin-shrimp bisque is simple to make, and the delightful contrast of buttery pumpkin and the briny crustaceans is enough to please even the most finicky eater.

Appetizer: Crab Cake Bites

For a starting appetizer that’ll give all your family members a warm welcome, serve up a few batches of crab cake bites. These flavorful starters are the ideal seafaring finger food and are always a hit with kids and us “older kids” alike (especially when seasoned with fresh chives and seafood-suitable spices like celery seed and cloves).

Entree: Stuffed Lobster Tail

Presidents aren’t the only ones with the power to pardon turkeys. Here in the Pine Tree State, it’s not uncommon to see families substitute the bird for a Maine course of succulent lobster. Try a baked lobster filled with stuffing — as a perfectly-portioned protein, you’re less likely to get carried away with the seconds and thirds we tend to take with turkey. After all, if it was good enough for the pilgrims during the very first Thanksgiving, it’s good enough for us.

A bouillabaisse is a seafood Thanksgiving menu idea for a Maine-worthy entree.
Photo: Hamid Attie / Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0.

Entree: Seafood Bouillabaisse

Preparing a lobster bouillabaisse may involve a lengthy list of ingredients and a seemingly endless wait time, but with this Maine meal centering your table, there won’t be an empty tummy in the house. Extra-flavorful lobster, clams, and hearty potatoes marinated in a savory broth is a perfect match for a chilly fall evening.

Side Dish: Seafood Stuffing

Stuffing is a standard for Thanksgiving — with or without our feathered friends in sight. You can Maine-ify this tradition by tossing in one more class of ingredients: shellfish! If you opt for a stuffed lobster entree (or just want something scrumptious as a side), crab-and-shrimp seafood stuffing will round out your spread. Don’t forget to keep to New England authenticity by topping your stuffing (and all your dishes) with fresh cranberry sauce.

Side Dish: Roasted Chicories

If you love seafood as much as we do, you may already know that the mellow flavor of cooked chicory or endive is commonly used to complement both fish and shellfish. That’s why a heaping bowl of roasted chicories with brown butter will work wonders for your Maine-centric Thanksgiving dinner — season them with Italian parsley for an extra burst of flavor.

We’re thankful for the delectable tastes of Maine, and that affinity doesn’t fade during Ogunquit’s off-season. That’s why we cook up seafood ideas for Thanksgiving each fall — if you need even more Maine in your life, give us a follow on Facebook and Instagram to add Vacationland visions and inspirations to your feed all year long.

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