Research shows that 73% of consumers choose seafood for its health benefits and 58% said they want to increase their seafood intake. Catch the wave with summer seafood menu trends and reel in revenue with these tips.

Consumers are seeking a wider variety of seafood on menus. And summer is the perfect time to test drive seafood snacks, comfort dishes, and other seasonal seafood menu trends.

Snacks Are Back

Snacks and small plates are becoming more and more popular with restaurant goers, and you can use this trend to your advantage to create unique, cost-effective dishes. And that includes seafood. In fact, 26% of consumers say that if offered, they’d order seafood nachos, so put a spin on the classic by serving seared ahi tuna on a plate of crispy fried wontons, with fresh avocado, cilantro, and wasabi mayo. Or for another creative take on nachos, consider Empire’s Treasure® Beer Battered Pollock sticks topped with guacamole, Cotija cheese, pico de gallo, and charred jalapeno.

To wade even deeper into the seafood small plate trend, add some crab stuffed deviled eggs, fish taco bites, or a platter featuring coconut shrimp and grilled shrimp with a chili garlic butter dipping sauce.

Comforts of the Sea

The appeal and popularity of comfort food is nothing new, especially in the summertime. Diners are more likely to indulge themselves, spend a little more, and order dishes they love. And while summer seafood dishes tend to be light and bright, the segment also lends itself well to hearty and comfortable. Catch customers’ attention with a take on the popular fried chicken sandwich by swapping in Empire’s Treasure® Beer Battered Cod, and top it with broccoli slaw, creamy tartar sauce, red onion, and tomato.

For lunch menus, consider a mango salsa tostada topped with grilled shrimp or a lobster BLT for a twist on two classic summer favorites. For dinner, buttery lobster linguine with a roasted red pepper sauce, or creamy scallop risotto with fresh tomatoes, spinach, and corn will persuade even the staunchest land lovers to dive into the seafood section.

Creatures of the Deep

While seafood options like salmon, shrimp, and crab cakes tend to get most of the spotlight on menus, chefs are exploring the depths of the ocean to stand apart from competitors and appeal to more adventurous eaters. Octopus is now among the top five fastest-growing seafood options on menus, with grilled octopus dishes increasing by 33 percent in the past four years, according to research. Consider adding a char-grilled octopus with grilled tomatillo and jalapeno vinaigrette and Cotija cheese using Empire’s Treasure® Octopus for a unique menu option.

For something a little more familiar but equally delicious, consider a squid ink pasta dish featuring Piancone Epicureo® squid ink linguine, and grilled scallops in a puttanesca sauce.

Sunrise Surf

Seafood doesn’t just have to live on your lunch and dinner menus. Breakfast and brunch seafood options are becoming more popular and it goes beyond the traditional lox and cream cheese bagel or shrimp and grits. Consider a tilapia burrito stuffed with black beans, rice, scrambled eggs, cilantro, and pico de gallo. Even offer a shrimp scramble or savory waffles with crispy salmon and dill served with crème fraiche to lure in the early risers.

Surfing the Globe

Globally inspired dishes continue to ride the popularity wave and infusing those flavors into your seafood dishes will have your guests wading in to test the waters. Add a poke bowl filled with meaty ahi tuna and fresh veggies or add in some Asian flavors by serving up a teriyaki udon noodle bowl with Bay Winds® All-Natural Faroe Island Salmon, green beans, red peppers, broccoli, scallions, and spices for something a little more unique.

Oysters are having their time above the surface, so serving them up with Sriracha vinaigrette or a Thai basil pesto and ponzu sauce are simple, yet effective ways to add some international flair to your seafood section.

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