Catch a Wave of Trending Seafood Ideas to Last All Year

There are plenty of fish in the sea, our Culinary Specialists are here to help you find the right one for your plate.

Seafood offers outstanding options to diners looking for something new. The first few months of the new year are a great time to introduce flavours from the deep. 

People who resolved to eat better to start the year often choose the good-for-you-glow of fish, making it a point to avoid red meat. It’s a time for seafood selections to flourish.

In fact, restaurant fish sales historically rise 20% during the first few months of the year, according to The percentage jumps in seafood-centric locations. This allows operators to test trending options and reinforce menu mainstays, building an appetite for seafood that extends throughout the year.

Here are three seafood selections – octopus, bronzino and golden tilefish – ideal for the start of the year and beyond.

Octopus. Appetizer lovers have been feasting on calamari for years. Now is the time to spread your tentacles and feature another deep-sea delicacy, octopus.

People often confuse calamari and octopus, probably because they are aquatic cousins. With tentacles and a mantle, they look similar and have comparable textures. Calamari is smaller and is a type of squid. Octopus is a larger mollusk with a distinctly different flavour.

Octopus has a tender, meaty texture, is slightly sweet, and has a stronger, seafood-forward taste. It can be boiled, simmered, grilled or braised, and combines nicely with bold flavours like garlic or spicy peppers, as well as savoury flavours from the herb garden.

“I really like to use lots of bright, acidic, spicy and colorful food while cooking,” says Leo Asaro, a Gordon Food Service culinary specialist. “With a nod to Thai cuisine, I started this grilled octopus dish with green curry, while keeping with traditional flavours of bright lemongrass, ginger, coconut, and tons of herbs, such as basil, mint, and cilantro.”

The result is a centre-of-the-plate showstopper – grilled octopus surrounded by a green curry with jalapeño and spinach purée, a charred pineapple relish, shallots, tamari and braised Swiss chard. It’s a bowl full of colour, texture and flavour ready to earn a spot on the year-round menu.

Golden tilefish. From the deep waters of the North American continental shelf comes a fish known for its firm, white meat and buttery, sweet crab-like flavour. Similar to grouper, golden tilefish pairs well with flavours of garlic, tomatoes, lemons, rosemary, thyme, or even a mild white wine sauce.

It not only adapts well to flavours, but its versatility extends to preparation. Golden tilefish can be pan-seared, grilled, broiled, baked and even breaded and deep-fried. 

Gordon Food Service Culinary Specialist Keith Beane offers a golden tilefish recipe with an Asian twist. “I chose this recipe because it is one of my favourite recipes for a mild white fish,” Beane said. “Also, I really enjoy Asian cuisine and believe it is still an on-trend cuisine that continues to gain popularity.”

Bronzini. This mild, flaky white fish is an Italian import. Some people think of bronzini as the Mediterranean sea bass, because its mild sweetness takes on the flavour of seasonings, whether it’s a chili rub, dill, fennel or tomatoes. Bronzini is often roasted and served whole – a plate presentation perfect for two – sprinkled with herbs and garnished with lemon wheels.

“Roasted Bronzini is a great fish to work with,” says Adam Walkover, a Gordon Food Service Culinary Specialist. “It has such a delicate texture and slightly sweet flavour. The fish really takes on flavour well with very simple ingredient additions and is super easy to work with.” 

One great example is our kitchen-tested Roasted Bronzini recipe, a pesto-rubbed, butterflied filet served with a tomato medley, beans and a fennel-arugula salad. Bronzini also offers versatility. Because it flakes easily it can be added to pasta, stews, salads and creative bowl builds. 

Barramundi. Also known as “Australian sea bass” or “giant sea perch,” this fish has a meaty texture and buttery flavour. Its steak-like firmness makes it very versatile. It can be ceviche-cured, pan-roasted, spiced and seared, or even given a pecan crust for frying. Try this Crispy Barramundi With Banh Mi Vegetables And Charred Lemongrass Ginger Aioli from Gordon Food Service Culinary Specialist Rachel Mazur.

Longtime Seafood Faves Maintain Appeal

With these trend-forward seafood options to help out, the world is your seafood oyster. But don’t overlook other menu inspirations – wild Alaska pollock, barramundi and crab – that go beyond the traditional fish basket.

Wild Alaskan Pollock. Another mild, flaky white fish, pollock is a great alternative to red meat. Known as one of the world’s most flexible fish, pollock comes in many cuts and portions ideal for fish entrées, salads and fish baskets. 

Crab. The flavour of crab covers a lot of menu territory, from salads and soups to appetizers and entrées. A warm farro and crab salad makes a light, protein-packed meal, while creamy crab and artichoke soup answer the call for hearty indulgence. For an appetizer, place a ramekin of crab and pimiento cheese alongside toasted baguettes for sharing. As an entrée, there are always crab cakes, but why stop there? Crab can be an anytime star, from crab omelets/benedicts to crab fettuccine or crab rellenos.

Salmon. Sear it, roast it, grill it, smoke it, salmon is a tender, flaky and flavourful favourite. Adding salmon elevates the menu, plus it’s one of the most versatile seafood dishes available. Add salmon to a Caesar salad. Serve it smoked with capers and crackers as an appetizer. Sprinkle it with dill and slices of Meyer lemons and grill or pan-sear it as a centre-of-the-plate star. Try this Grilled Salmon Chimichurri recipe, featuring global flavour inspiration. It’s topped with chimichurri, the go-to Argentinian condiment, and is served with sides of horseradish mashed potatoes and roasted rainbow carrots.

Looking for more ways to bring seafood to your menu? Browse our full list of recipes here.

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