Prepare for the new wave of seafood sensations
Without question, everyone’s ready for a fresh new start in 2021. We suggest you hit the refresh button on your menu with prize catches straight from the ocean — salmon, trout, arctic char, swordfish, tuna, branzini, cod, haddock, pollock. Having made it through a tumultuous and disruptive year, the lure of fresh, perfectly cooked and beautifully plated seafood is going to be simply impossible to resist. And for diners looking for immune-boosting nutrition, seafood has it by the forkful, packed with vitamins, minerals, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, and nutrients.Power your plate with the ocean’s bounty with these tips for storing through serving…and not waste a single flake.
Keep It ChillWrap your fresh catch in a plastic bag and place on ice in a perforated pan inserted inside a larger storage pan. Performance Foodservice Corporate Chef Lonnie Varisco explains: “The ice helps protect the integrity and flavor of the meat, but it’s essential to prevent cross contamination by never letting the fish come in direct contact with the ice.” Remember to change the ice twice a day to ensure the fish stays cold, and store on the bottom shelf of a cooler, six inches off the floor and six inches from the wall.
Some Like It HotThe classic ways to prepare fish are: dry heat, with grilling, pan frying or deep frying; or wet heat, with steaming or poaching. Chef Lonnie’s tip for retaining the fish’s natural moisture when cooking with dry heat: bring it to room temperature before it meets the heat. Or try cooking in parchment or foil to keep the fish at optimal mouthwatering juiciness.
Get Spicy With ItWhile a more delicate tasting cod or tilapia might benefit from a lighter touch with bay leaves, parsley, or dill, a flavorful salmon can hold its own with even the boldest ingredients. Take your diners to new places with spices like aji, chimichurri, chipotle, sriracha, and serrano pepper, or sweeten the offer with yuzo, eel sauce, ponzu, or maple flavors.
Taking SidesElevate your seafood at the center with sides that complement, contrast, or pair perfectly. Try salmon in a hearty grain bowl; crab with a shaved asparagus and arugula salad; oysters with roasted corn; white fish with Greek-style roasted potatoes; scallops with a bacon-centric salad; lobster in a high-end mac and cheese; sea bass with mushroom rice pilaf; rainbow trout with grilled parmesan broccoli.
Sell the Origin StoryAs Datassential points out in its Seafood 2020 report: “Seafood has a better story to tell about where it comes from than other proteins, such as what boat caught the tuna for dinner tonight.” Survey after survey shows that consumers want to know where their food comes from, and fishermen, along with farmers, are among the most trusted sources.
Waste NotRepurpose your leftover seafood into fish tacos, fish cakes, chopped salad, rillettes, fried rice, grain bowls, fish curry, and chowders. For the super creative, make a ‘seacuterie,’ a seafood-focused charcuterie board featuring a mix of species and preps.
Seeking Seafood Success
The following are America’s favorite catches, according to Menu Matters.
Swimming to the Top
- Walleye pike
- Alaskan cod