Recipe report: Catering season is here

catering

November signals the beginning of a busy catering season for many foodservice operators. If you’re looking for new ideas to energize catered events, start with the five innovative recipes that follow. 

Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Corn Dogs with Avocado Ranch Dressing

Corn Dogs with Avocado Ranch Dressing

This whimsical take on a popular state fair food is sure to win fans at catered events, too. Instead of hot dogs, these veggie-based “corn dogs” feature wedges of avocado that are skewered, coated with spicy cornbread batter and fried. Chef Matt Hastings serves them with a side of avocado ranch dressing for dipping.

Click here for the recipe.

Photograph courtesy of California Avocado Commission

2. Balsamic Onion and Blue Cheese Tartlets

Balsamic Onion and Blue Cheese Tartlets

At Bord A Petite, the chefs use labor-saving, ready-made mini phyllo shells to create these festive tartlets. The filling doesn’t require a lot of labor either, and the onions can be cooked ahead and kept at room temperature. For service, the filled tartlets just need a quick turn in the oven to melt the cheese.

Click here for the recipe.

Photograph courtesy of National Onion Association

3. Lamb Bulgogi Banh Mi Egg Rolls

Lamb Bulgogi Banh Mi Egg Rolls

Korean-style bulgogi is traditionally made with beef. And banh mi sandwiches usually feature pork. For this mash-up, chef Sam Woodfill swaps in cost-effective lamb neck as the protein and stuffs the braised meat into wonton wrappers instead of crusty rolls. To tenderize this cut of lamb, it is soaked in a sweet-salty marinade made with ginger, garlic, pears, honey and soy sauce before simmering for two hours or until it falls off the bone.

Click here for the recipe.

Photograph courtesy of American Lamb Board

4. Tzatziki

Tzatziki

Sassool, a Lebanese restaurant with three locations in North Carolina, batches tzatziki for catering platters. The garlicky cucumber-yogurt dip is served with grilled kabobs, wedges of warm pita bread and assorted raw veggies for dipping. Sassool uses the more authentic labneh, a Middle Eastern strained yogurt, as the base instead of plain yogurt.

Click here for the recipe.

Photograph courtesy of Sassool

5. Potato Chip-Crusted Macaroni and Cheese Bites

Potato Chip-Crusted Macaroni and Cheese Bites

A customer favorite—mac and cheese—is transformed into appetizer size by cutting the chilled mixture into cubes. The cubes are then coated with panko and crushed potato chips and deep-fried to create a crunchy crust. To contrast with the richness of the recipe, chef Des Jardins pairs the bites with a refreshing tomato jam.

Click here for the recipe.

Photograph courtesy of California Milk Advisory Board

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