Shellfish opens up

Operators use shellfish to provide quality and flavor to customers.

Published in FSD Update

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.

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