Shellfish opens up

Operators use shellfish to provide quality and flavor to customers.

Published in FSD Update

By 
Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

Taylor’s team has been able to overcome some challenges of working with shellfish simply by purchasing cleaner products. “When we started serving mussels, especially more a few years ago, it would take forever to clean them,” Taylor says. “Now we’ve moved to a cleaned product. With lobster, the biggest challenge is the cost. But I think what I like the most about it for our student program is that I don’t think students ever thought they were going to get that kind of food here. It shows them we are more than just a cafeteria. The students really appreciate it.”

At Allegro, an LTC facility in St. Augustine, Fla., Eric Henley, dining services director, likes working with shellfish because it only takes a light touch to enhance the flavor to make a well-rounded dish.

“We do a paella bar at our action station where we offer shrimp, steamed mussels or oysters as options for residents to build their own paella,” Henley says. “We also have a couple different salads we do with shrimp and scallops. Those are marinated in white wine, lime juice, orange zest, olive oil and black pepper. We grill the shrimp or scallops and put them on a salad plate with mixed greens, citrus and avocado. Another great dish we make is chicken Oscar, which is a sautéed boneless, skinless chicken breast topped with crabmeat. We plate that with asparagus spears and top it with hollandaise sauce.”

Fresh or frozen?

Joy Cantrell, executive chef at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, in Burbank, Calif., likes working with frozen products. “I haven’t had great consistency with fresh items,” Cantrell says. “Plus, the cost doesn’t allow me to order them frequently.”

One dish her department offers is mussels in pasta, where they first steam the mussels in garlic, thyme, white wine, lemon juice and chicken broth. Once the mussels open, they make the pasta, linguini in a white wine and lemon sauce.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
salad

We’re currently piloting a Salad Bar Happy Hour 
in Cafe 16. Due to Health Department regulations, any self-serve salad bar items must be disposed of after service. The salad bar goes “on sale” for 25 cents an ounce post-lunchtime to help reduce waste as well as offer value to customers.

Menu Development
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

Ideas and Innovation
turnip juice brine

Give leftover brine new life by adding it to vegetables. In an interview with Food52, Stuart Brioza, chef and owner of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, says that he adds a splash of leftover brine while sauteeing mushrooms to increase their flavor profile. “We like to ferment turnips at the restaurant, and it’s a great way to use that brine—though dill pickle brine would work just as well,” he says.

Menu Development
side dishes

Operators looking to increase sales of side dishes may want to focus on freshness and value. Here’s what attributes consumers say are important when picking sides.

Fresh - 73% Offered at a fair price - 72% Satisfies a craving - 64% Premium ingredients - 56% Natural ingredients - 49% Signature side - 47% Something familiar - 46% Housemade/made from scratch - 44% Something new/unique - 42% Large portion size - 42% Healthfulness - 40% Family-size - 40%

Source: Technomic’s 2017 Starters, Small Plates and Sides Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite

FSD Resources