Restaurants throughout the state and beyond feature fresh Alabama Gulf Seafood on the menu all year long.
But if you’re a real Gulf seafood fan—and a savvy, thrifty chef—it’s all about cooking it in your own kitchen. And to do it properly, you’ll need the right set of tools.
Here’s a set of six seafood-centric appliances that belong in your kitchen if you want to cook Gulf seafood at home.
A simple square of parchment paper can do wonders for fresh Gulf fish. All you have to do is wrap your fish in a single sheet with some spices, herbs, and accouterments, then stick it in the oven and voilà, a home-cooked meal.
If you need a recipe to guide you through this technique, we’d recommend Martie Duncan’s Alabama Gulf Fish in Parchment with Citrus Reduction.
If you’re looking for an oyster dish that’s perfect for both preparation and presentation, look no further than The Oyster Bed. It’s lightweight, it’s great for grilling, it’s easy to clean, and it comes in two sizes: half dozen and full dozen.
You can feel great about owning an Oyster Bed too, since they help promote Gulf seafood sustainability and oyster shell recycling through the use of their product.
Fresh steamed or boiled Blue Crab straight from Alabama waters is a real treat, but it’s a bit of work—and it can get somewhat messy. Thankfully, a simple crab mallet will do the trick when it comes to the heavy lifting.
Just make sure you’re crackin’ ‘em the right way, of course. If you need a tutorial or a refresher, check out our How to Crack a Crab page.
There’s nothin’ quite like fresh Alabama Gulf shrimp, but the peeling and deveining process can be an annoyance—especially if you’re using an ordinary knife. But a simple shrimp cleaner, like this model from OXO Good Grips, can crack the shell and remove the vein all in one motion.
Check out our How to Peel and Devein a Shrimp page if you need a few pointers before getting started.
If you’re the type that prefers buying Gulf oysters wholesale—i.e. pre-shucked—you’ll be lost without a solid oyster knife.
Keep in mind, though, shucking oysters is an acquired skill. (Why do you think they have oyster shucking contests every year at The Hangout’s Oyster Cook-Off?) Consult our How to Shuck an Oyster page before you dive in, and remember to be patient with the process.
The right seafood toolkit isn’t all about preparation, though—sometimes it boils down to having the right pot or pan. Whether you’re cooking a lowcountry shrimp boil, a hearty gumbo, a tasty crab boil, a seafood stew, or anything in between, make sure it’s in a sturdy stockpot.
The folks at Bayou Classic sell some great cookware for all kinds of seafood dishes if you’re looking for a trusted brand.
Now that you’ve got your kitchen fully stocked with seafood essentials, it’s time to get cookin’. Head over to our recipes page for 130+ dishes to try for your family and friends.