Ring In The New Year With A Lucky Seafood Dinner

Across the globe, many cultures enjoy seafood on New Year's Eve. It's believed that eating seafood on the first day of the year will bring a year of luck, prosperity, and good health.

Across the globe, many cultures enjoy seafood on New Year’s Eve. It’s believed that eating seafood on the first day of the year will bring a year of luck, prosperity, and good health.

In China fish are believed to be lucky because their scales resemble coins, and they swim in schools which invoke the idea of abundance. In Germany and Vietnam, consuming carp has been a long-standing tradition, while the Polish find their good luck in pickled herring. Italians enjoy dishes made from dried salted cod and the Japanese serve up red snapper to herald in a lucky new year.

Celebrate the end of 2015 with these recipes. Maybe these dishes will bring you a bit of good luck, or an unexpected windfall. Whatever you’re wishing for in the New Year, these dishes are sure to get your 2016 off to a delicious start.

New Year's sautéed seafood


(for 3 people)

1 lb. fresh tuna 1” thick
12 large shrimp (not giant)
3 large sea scallops (or more)
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 slices of fresh ginger (1/8” thick)
½ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup half-and-half (optional for moistening
tuna before coating)
Parsley and scallion (minced) for garnish
Sliced lemon for garnish

Shell, devein and dry shrimp on paper towel; dry scallops also. Cut tuna steak in 1-inch-wide, 3-inch-long pieces. Salt and pepper shrimp, scallops and tuna pieces. Now moisten tuna in cream and dip in sesame seeds to coat both sides. Set all seafood aside.

Crush garlic and slice fresh ginger. Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet big enough for all the seafood pieces. (I used two 8-inch skillets.) Add garlic and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes to flavor the butter. Do not burn the garlic; remove ginger and garlic from pan when garlic begins to brown. You can do all this ahead of time.

At serving time, heat butter on medium-high heat until it just begins to brown. As the butter is heating, arrange salad on a serving plate (1/4 of plate). When butter is hot, put scallops in first, allow them to caramelize on one side before turning, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp and coated tuna pieces to pan and sauté for 1 minute; turn everything over and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Place risotto (or pasta or whatever) on plates opposite the salad. Remove seafood and arrange on top of the of risotto or pasta. Garnish with parsley, scallions, and lemons and serve – beautiful and delicious.

I served melted butter and a soy-based dipping sauce. The soy-based sauce (see recipe below) is especially good with the tuna, while lemon and butter is great with the shrimp and scallops.
If you have a guest who likes tuna less rare, cook it a bit longer. I feel this is a mistake, but the guest should get his or her wishes met. I often must remind myself of this courtesy. This is a great dinner!

New Year's spicy shrimp


1 lb. small shrimp (thawed and dried)
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 slices ginger
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
½ Tbsp. Chinese chili garlic paste
2 Tbsp. minced scallion


2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fish sauce (or nuoc cham or nam pla)
1 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 ½ tsp. rice vinegar or lemon juice
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger or 1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. crushed, minced garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped scallion (optional)
Mix all these together and have at it. Delicious! You may add chopped hot pepper or hot sauce. If the sauce
seems too strong, add water a teaspoon at a time.

Salt shrimp lightly. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large skillet. Toast garlic and ginger in oil until garlic begins to color, remove before it burns, add shrimp, garlic and chili paste to hot oil and stir over high heat until the shrimp are barely cooked, all pinkish and opaque. Serve as-is or with Seafood Dipping Sauce. I eat them “feathers and all.” Some of my wimpier relatives shell them.

This article was originally published online in December 2015.

1 thought on “Ring In The New Year With A Lucky Seafood Dinner

  1. Dale Wiles

    Nice try. Eating seafood on the first day of the year would be January 1st. Not New Year’s Eve. Think about it please. Fake news.

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