A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Calabash Shrimp Wrightsville Beach Oyster Stew Shrimp Po’Boy Eastern Carolina Fish Stew Pecan-Crusted Flounder Shrimp Salad Lump Crab Cakes With Dijon-Dill Sauce Seafood Boil Chopped Shrimp Salad Seafood Casserole Seafood

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Calabash Shrimp Wrightsville Beach Oyster Stew Shrimp Po’Boy Eastern Carolina Fish Stew Pecan-Crusted Flounder Shrimp Salad Lump Crab Cakes With Dijon-Dill Sauce Seafood Boil Chopped Shrimp Salad Seafood Casserole Seafood

19 Scrumptious Seafood Recipes

photograph by Charlotte & Johnny Autry

Calabash Shrimp

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Peanut oil, for frying
2 large eggs
1 cup canned evaporated milk or whole milk
1 cup self-rising flour
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds large or medium-size shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
Tartar sauce and cocktail sauce

Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches in a deep fryer or deep, heavy pot. Heat over medium-high heat until the temperature registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the oil at that temperature throughout the frying process.

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl.

In a second shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper.

Working in batches, coat the shrimp in the egg mixture, letting any excess drip away, and then coat lightly and evenly in the flour mixture.

Slip the shrimp into the hot oil, adding no more at one time than can float freely. Cook until the crust is crisp and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Transfer with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon to drain on paper towels or a brown paper bag. Sprinkle the piping hot shrimp with salt and serve at once with sauce on the side.

Serve with tartar sauce and/or cocktail sauce.


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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Wrightsville Beach Oyster Stew

Recipe Courtesy of Seaboard to Sideboard Entertains Cookbook

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4 small onions, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 (2-ounce) jar pimientos
1½ teaspoons thyme
1½ teaspoons pepper
1¼ teaspoons salt
8 cups milk
8 cups heavy cream
1 gallon shucked oysters with oyster liquor

Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, mushrooms, and garlic, and sauté until tender. Reduce heat to low. Add flour, undrained pimientos, thyme, pepper, and salt. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk, cream, and undrained oysters. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the edges of the oysters curl. Do not boil. Ladle into soup bowls.


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photograph by Taylor McBride

Shrimp Po’Boy

Recipe by Steve Gordon

Yield: 2 sandwiches

1 pound shrimp
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
6 tablespoons evaporated milk
Vegetable oil or lard for frying
2 hoagie rolls
Tartar sauce
Lettuce, tomato, and red onion for topping

Peel, devein, and rinse shrimp. Let drain. Place shrimp in a small bowl and coat evenly with evaporated milk. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Stir to combine.

In a medium saucepot over medium heat, add enough vegetable oil or lard to reach a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Heat to 375°.

Place shrimp in breading mixture and toss until lightly coated. Shake off excess flour and place shrimp in oil.

Cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring with a slotted spoon as needed.

Using a slotted spoon, remove shrimp from hot oil and place on a brown paper bag to let drain.

Prepare and cut rolls. Top with tartar sauce and shrimp. Add lettuce, tomato, and onions to taste.


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photograph by Juli Leonard

Eastern Carolina Fish Stew

Recipe by Vivian Howard

Yield: 12 servings.

1 pound sliced smoked bacon
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 pounds white or red potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
2 pounds yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into ¼-inch slices
6 garlic cloves, sliced (optional)
3 pounds fish steaks, about 3 ounces each, with bones intact (red drum, rockfish, or sheepshead are good options)
1 fish head, rinsed well (optional)
2½ tablespoons salt
1½ teaspoons chili flakes
1 dozen eggs
1 loaf white bread

Cut the bacon slices into 1-inch squares. Brown it in the bottom of an 8- to 10-quart Dutch oven or cast-iron pot. Once it’s crisp, remove it and reserve. Whisk the tomato paste into the bacon fat, making sure you scrape up all the bits left from browning the bacon.

With the heat off, begin layering the ingredients. Keep in mind you want to end up with three layers. Start with a layer of potatoes, followed by a layer of onions and of garlic, if using, followed by a layer of fish. Top the fish with a third of the salt and a third of the chili flakes. Repeat with two more layers. Fill the pot with enough water to just barely reach the top of the fish. If there’s a little fish peeking out over the top, that’s ok — better than if it’s swimming in water. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring it to a boil slowly over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and let it cook at a high simmer for about 15 minutes. Check the potatoes for doneness. They should be barely tender, not falling apart.

Taste the broth and add more salt if needed. Then, with the stew at a good simmer, add the eggs one by one in a single layer over the top of the stew. I like to crack the eggs into a small cup before I drop them in. What you’re trying to do is cook whole eggs in the broth. Once the eggs are cooked through, use a large ladle to portion the stew. A proper serving is at least one piece of fish, two potatoes, some onions, and an egg swimming in broth. Shower each bowl with some bacon and set it up with a slice or two of white bread.


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pecan crusted flounder

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Pecan-Crusted Flounder

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 fillets.

1 cup finely chopped pecans (not ground)
¼ cup unseasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 3 lemons’ worth)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 (6-ounce) fresh flounder fillets
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Lemon wedges

In a shallow bowl, mix pecans, bread crumbs, and lemon zest. In a separate shallow bowl, beat eggs and milk with a whisk or fork.

Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and pepper. Coat fish with egg mixture, then coat well with pecan mixture, pressing slightly into fish.

Heat oil and butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add fish. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning once carefully. Pour remaining butter over fish before serving. Serve with lemon wedges.


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shrimp salad

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Shrimp Salad

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

1 pound cooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup celery, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Lettuce or mixed salad greens
Lemon wedges

Mix all ingredients and chill for 1 to 3 hours. Serve on a bed of lettuce or on top of mixed salad greens with a wedge of lemon.


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lump crab cakes

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Lump Crab Cakes With Dijon-Dill Sauce

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

Crab Cakes:
1 pound lump crabmeat
½ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Lemon wedges

Dijon-Dill Sauce:
¼ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 fresh dill sprigs, chopped

For the crab cakes: In a large bowl, mix the first 7 ingredients. Use an ice-cream scoop to form crab cakes, then place them on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add crab cakes and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, until browned. Serve with lemon wedges and Dijon-Dill Sauce.

For the dijon-dill sauce: In a bowl, combine all ingredients and stir. Reserve some of the dill for garnish. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.


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photograph by stevecoleimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Seafood Boil

Recipe by Erica Derr

Yield: 12 servings.

3 quarts water
½ cup Old Bay Seasoning
½ cup celery, thinly sliced
1 pound new red potatoes
1 pound hot smoked sausage links, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 ears corn, husked, cleaned, quartered
2 pounds large fresh shrimp, unpeeled

Bring water and Old Bay Seasoning to a boil in large stockpot. Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Add sausage and cook for five more minutes. Add corn and cook for five more minutes.

Stir in the shrimp, and cook until they are pink, about five minutes. Drain immediately and serve. 


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photograph by Baxter Miller

Chopped Shrimp Salad

Recipe contributed by Joyce Taylor

1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup celery, chopped
¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
2 hard-cooked eggs, diced
Lettuce leaves (optional)
Tomato wedges (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, celery, Tabasco, salt, and pepper. Gently stir in eggs and shrimp. Mix thoroughly. Chill several hours or overnight. Serve on lettuce leaves. Garnish with tomato wedges.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Seafood Casserole

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups seafood or chicken stock
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup cooking sherry
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
4 cups brown rice, cooked per instructions

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces fresh lump crabmeat
8 ounces fresh bay scallops
¼ cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add onion and celery, and sauté until vegetables become translucent, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

In a separate skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in flour to make a roux. When butter and flour are well blended, add stock, wine, and sherry, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Stir in ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Add cooked brown rice and sautéed vegetables to sauce and stir.

Pour half of the rice-veggie mixture into the prepared baking dish. Evenly distribute half of the uncooked shrimp over rice. Top shrimp with half of the lump crabmeat and all of the scallops, followed by a second layer of the rice-veggie mixture. Add remaining shrimp and crabmeat on top of rice and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Cover and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Note: If making this dish ahead, assemble casserole, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate before baking.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Seafood Bisque

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 green onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk, warm
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces lump crabmeat
8 ounces fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces bay scallops
3 tablespoons dry sherry
Salt to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-low heat; add the chopped green onion and celery. Sauté, stirring, until onion and celery are translucent.

Add the flour to the butter and vegetables and stir until flour is well incorporated. Continue stirring for about 2 minutes.

Slowly stir in the warmed milk and continue stirring until thickened. Add the white pepper, tomato paste, and heavy cream. Stir in the crab, shrimp, scallops, and sherry. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until scallops are white and shrimp is just pink.

Remove soup from heat and let cool to room temperature. In batches, add soup to blender and pulse on low speed for 10 to 20 seconds. There should still be bits of seafood visible.

Add soup back to saucepan, add 2 tablespoons butter, and simmer. Add salt to taste. Serve hot, with crusty bread.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Oyster or Clam Fritters

Recipe by Community Cookbook Series

Yields: 12 or more fritters.

2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup self-rising flour
1 pint oysters (or clams)
½ cup oyster liquor (or clam juice), water, and/or milk
Vegetable oil for frying
Ketchup, mustard, or cocktail sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 250°. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In a mixing bowl, mix eggs and flour together into a thick paste.

Add as much of the liquid as is required to make a thin batter that is thick enough to hold together when put into the hot fat.

Pour enough vegetable oil into frying pan to reach a depth of ½ to 1 inch. Heat over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, hold the bowl over the pan, and dip oysters into batter one by one, then drop 2-3 oysters together in a cluster to make one fritter. Or, pour a spoonful of batter into the oil, then quickly add a couple of oysters.

If you’re making clam fritters, spoon a dollop of batter into the oil, then quickly add a spoonful of drained clams to the batter. Do not crowd the pan.

Cook each fritter until golden, then flip and cook the other side. Remove and drain on paper towels, on the baking sheet kept in the warm oven.

Serve stacks of the fritters on a serving platter, along with ketchup, mustard, cocktail sauce, or sour cream.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Seared Scallop Pasta With Almonds

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup vegetable or seafood stock
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt

Almond Topping:
1 cup slivered almonds
Zest of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ pounds large dry-pack sea scallops
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked per package directions
Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)
4 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted (for garnish)

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, stock, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.

Place 1 cup almonds in a food processor and pulse until all almonds appear to be chopped. Add lemon zest and olive oil, and pulse to a thick paste consistency. Set aside.

Add the sauce mixture to a skillet over medium heat and cook until sauce thickens.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet (cast iron preferred), warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Season both sides of scallops with salt and black pepper and add to hot pan. Once scallops are in hot skillet, don’t move them around. Cook 2 minutes per side, until golden brown on the outside and opaque/cooked through on the inside.

Place cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl. Spoon sauce over pasta and toss to coat. Divide pasta among 4 plates or bowls and arrange scallops on top. Spoon almond paste topping over pasta and scallops. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and reserved toasted slivered almonds.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Lump Crab Salad

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 pound fresh lump crab meat
2 heads butter lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, halved

In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Fold in dill and crab. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Arrange lettuce on 4 plates. Divide the crab mixture and place on top. Sprinkle green onions over top. Place eggs and tomatoes decoratively on plates and serve.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Fried Oyster Salad With Lemon Balsamic Dressing

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

Lemon Balsamic Dressing:
½ cup balsamic glaze
Juice from 2 lemons
2 small cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon fish sauce (optional)

Vegetable oil (for frying)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
cup whole buttermilk
1 tablespoon hot sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
24 raw oysters, drained and patted dry on paper towels

8 cups mixed baby greens, washed and patted dry
6 slices crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled (for garnish)
¼ red onion, thinly sliced (for garnish)
Fresh lemon wedges (for garnish)

For the dressing: In a blender, combine balsamic glaze, lemon juice, garlic, salt, honey, vegetable oil, and fish sauce. Process until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For the oysters: Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven with at least 2 inches of oil and heat to 350°. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, and paprika. In a second bowl, combine buttermilk, hot sauce, and salt. Whisk to blend.

Working with 6 oysters at a time, dip the oysters first in the buttermilk mixture, then allow any excess to drip off before dredging them in the cornmeal mixture. Repeat with the remaining oysters. Fry the oysters in the hot oil in batches, turning once, until golden brown and floating on the surface of the oil, about 1½ minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon or tongs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

For the salad: Divide the greens among 4 large salad bowls or plates. Top the lettuce with the oysters. Place onion slices on each salad and a wedge of lemon on each dish. Then drizzle the dressing over each salad. Crumble the bacon over each salad and serve immediately.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Deviled Crab Fritters With Spicy Tartar Sauce

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 16 to 20 fritters.

For the tartar sauce:
1½ cups mayonnaise
¼ cup hot pickles, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons hot sauce
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

For the fritters:
2 cups self-rising yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, sliced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup buttermilk
8 ounces beer
1 pound backfin or special crabmeat
Vegetable oil (for frying)

For the tartar sauce: In a medium bowl, combine all sauce ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For the fritters: In a large bowl, add cornmeal, flour, sugar, Creole seasoning, onion powder, baking powder, baking soda, red bell pepper, and green onions. Stir to combine.

Add the eggs, buttermilk, and beer to the flour mixture and stir, incorporating all ingredients.

Gently fold in crabmeat, taking care not to break up the crab. Let batter sit for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Pour 4 inches of oil into a Dutch oven. Heat until oil reaches 365°.

Working in batches, carefully drop batter by the tablespoon into hot oil. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until fritters begin to brown. Remove fritters and place on a wire rack over a baking sheet to drain. Keep fritters warm in a 200° oven until ready to serve.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Fresh Tuna Salad

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

1½ pounds fresh tuna steaks (ahi or yellowfin)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅓ cup mayonnaise
Juice from 1 lemon
¼ cup red onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 tablespoons dill pickle juice
½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Butter lettuce (optional)
Hard-boiled eggs (optional)

Heat a heavy skillet on medium-high.

Coat tuna steaks in olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Place tuna in the hot skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until there’s no pink left and the internal temperature is 145°. Place tuna on a plate and chill in refrigerator for an hour.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, red onion, celery, pickle juice, and Old Bay.

Add chilled tuna steaks to the mixture and break them up using a fork. Mix and serve on a bed of butter lettuce with hard-boiled eggs.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Fish & Corn Chowder

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

6 slices bacon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 sweet onions, chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
2 bay leaves
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
2 stalks celery, chopped
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cups fresh corn (about 4 ears) or frozen corn kernels
1½ cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1½ pounds firm white fish fillets (cod or halibut), cut into 1½-inch chunks
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon until crisp. Remove, let drain on a paper towel-lined plate, and set aside.

Add butter and onions to the remaining bacon drippings. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add stock, clam juice, bay leaves, potatoes, celery, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in corn, milk, and cream, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in fish and black pepper. Continue to simmer for an additional 3 minutes until corn is heated through. Remove and discard bay leaves. Crumble bacon on top, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, and serve.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Clam Chowder

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

5 dozen littleneck or cherrystone clams, scrubbed, or 3 (6.5-ounce) cans minced clams, drained and liquid reserved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup carrots, diced
1 bay leaf
¾ cup butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half
8 ounces or 1 cup clam juice or reserved stock
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1½ teaspoons salt
Black pepper to taste

If using fresh clams, place clams and 1 cup of water in a large pot. Cover and cook over high heat for 6 to 7 minutes. Uncover and remove all open clams. Cover and continue cooking unopened clams for 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove pot from heat and discard any unopened clams. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Reserve liquid. Coarsely chop clams and set aside.

In a large pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, potatoes, carrots, and bay leaf. Add water to cover and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in half-and-half and stir constantly until thick and smooth. Pour mixture into pot with vegetables, stirring constantly. Add clam juice. Heat through, but do not boil.

Stir in clams just before serving. When clams are heated through, stir in hot sauce and season with salt and pepper.

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This story was published on Jun 06, 2024

Our State Staff

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