Nova Scotia Seafood Tower

a seafood tower featuring lobster, snow crab, oysters, salmon and more.

Nova Scotia has an abundance of delicious seafood available year-round, from oysters and crab, to lobster, scallops and more. Check out this guide to create your own seafood tower from Jess Emin, to learn how to showcase all the delicious seafood yourself.


When buying seafood, ask what’s local, what’s in season, what’s fresh and when it should be eaten.

When buying frozen or thawed seafood it’s important to know how it’s been frozen, when it was thawed and when to consume it by.

The best way to know what’s fresh is your senses. If it smells like the briny ocean, you know it’s fresh.


  1. Always get your seafood home quickly and into the coldest part of your fridge (usually the bottom).
  2. Live shellfish like mussels, clams and oysters should be given a quick rinse, drained and placed in the fridge with a damp cloth on top. Live shellfish needs to breathe – place in a bowl or on a palate, not a sealed container.


  1. Thaw frozen seafood ahead of time (ideally the day prior). The ideal is thawing slowly, inside the fridge, in the packaging, over many hours. If this isn’t possible, thaw submerged in cool water.
  2. Rinse fresh or live seafood and discard any cracked or damaged shells. For a seafood tower, steam any shellfish that needs cooking with seasoning, cool and serve with raw seafood items. Pre-crack or shell lobster or crab, for easier eating.
  3. For previously frozen fish or shellfish you’re looking to serve raw, try a quick, wet brine. Submerge in heavily salted water for 20 minutes. If the fish is fresh, rinse in cold water, pat dry, season and cut.
  4. Serve a raw piece of fish or shellfish by cutting into thin, bite-size slices and sprinkle with salt.


  1. As soon as it’s prepared, present your cooked and raw offerings on ice in a try with tall edges so that the ice stays contained.
  2. The beauty of this dish is in the simplicity and freshness. Serve with accompaniments that add acid, heat, salt and bold flavour, like cocktail sauce, horseradish, mignonette, citrus or hot sauce.

Wine Pairing

Pairs well with a Nova Scotia white or sparkling wine.

For more of our Taste of Nova Scotia events, news and recipes delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe to our Taste of Nova Scotia emails.

Leave a Reply