The Seafood You Should Add To Your Thanksgiving Menu According To Melissa King - Exclusive

There are Thanksgivings that "Top Chef" champion Melissa King celebrates without turkey. She's the only one in her family who actually enjoys eating the bird, so King has learned to compromise. "We fight every year about what we're going to make." King confided in a recent exclusive interview with Tasting Table. "We decided to switch off every year. We do turkey one year, the next year we'll do roast duck, and the next year we'll do seafood." 

Not committing to the same spread year after year can be liberating. This Thanksgiving, lean into the mashed potatoes, green beans, dinner rolls, and cranberry sauce — or, if the spirit moves, don't. 

"I enjoy not having to follow tradition all the time," King told Tasting Table. You can still create a beautiful meal experience and a feast for your family based on their preferences. In my family, we do king crab legs. I'll order a bunch of oysters, and Dungeness crab because we're in California, and we do a whole seafood-themed Thanksgiving." Turkely-less Thanksgivings, clearly, have worked out for King.

The perfect sauce for your king crab legs on Thanksgiving

First the bad news: King crab legs do not usually pair well with stuffing and gravy. The good news, of course, is that they don't need to be roasted at a rate of 13 minutes a pound. "Those oftentimes come pre-cooked already and it's really simple. You can either eat them chilled or you can warm them in the oven," King told Tasting Table. The chef prefers to eat them with a bit of heat, so she prepares a Sichuan chili butter for the seafood. "I'll make a Sichuan chili oil and infuse that with the butter, but you can do a straightforward garlic butter with lemon and call it a day," King explained. "It gets everyone excited when they see king crab legs on the table." 

Don't stop reading, yet. King has one more Thanksgiving statute: the food is the least important part of the night. 

"Thanksgiving is all about bringing people together. It doesn't really matter what you're eating at the dinner table, but it's about the experience and building conversation and spreading the love that way," King says."With my family being Chinese-American, [we do] multi-elements of Chinese food with the roast duck and the Chinese sticky rice stuffing and Chinese bok choy sautéed or simple sautéed Asian vegetables as a side dish. There are no rules when it comes to holidays." 

For more recipe inspiration, don't miss out on Melissa King's adventures on Nat Geo's "Tasting Wild," which is currently streaming on Hulu.