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Opt for by-the-sea cuisine with seafood catering options for your next office event

Seafood catering offers a much-needed change from standard event food like steak, chicken, and pasta galore. Because seafood is a superstar ingredient in so many cultures all over the world, you can indulge in a wide range of unique flavors that run the gamut from fresh and herbaceous to fried and spicy.

Shrimp, lobster, sea bass, sea urchin, squid — they can be dressed up or dressed down to fit the event and the venue. Choose portable options like tilapia tacos and salmon BLTs, or have everybody sit down for an oceanic feast. Whether you’re interested in treating your team to a fun, hands-on crab boil or want to wow clients with high-end dishes that look as good as they taste, seafood catering delivers.

What types of seafood can I have catered?

There are so many types of seafood that can be steamed, sauteed, fried, stewed, smoked, or grilled in time for your next event. Seafood platters are always a big crowd-pleaser. Consider chilled shrimp, lobster, crab legs, clams, oysters, and mussels, all piled high on ice with lemon, mignonette, and cocktail sauce.

Seafood dishes can be fancy, but they can also represent comfort food in Asian or Mediterranean cuisine. Your seafood event menu might include:

- Red beans and rice with catfish

- Salmon burgers

- Crab cakes

- Blackened fish po’boys

- Shrimp and grits

- Vietnamese pho with shrimp

- Linguine and clams

- Corn and fish chowder

- Seafood paella

- Cioppino

- Spicy seafood ceviche

- Crispy fish tacos

- King crab cocktail

- Sushi

What sides can I order with seafood catering?

Seafood caterers often specialize in a particular type of cuisine, like Japanese or New England specialties, so the sides that are available will likely change based on the provider. Aim for at least one starch, one vegetable, and some sauces, if the main dish calls for it.

Some sides that go well with seafood include:

- Boiled potatoes and corn

- Caesar salad

- Steamed asparagus

- Garlicky green beans

- French fries (especially with fried fish)

- Pickled veggies

- Chips with salsa and guacamole

- Spiced quinoa

- Mashed potatoes

- Roasted cauliflower

- Cornbread

- Melon and prosciutto salad

- Twice-baked potatoes

- Risotto

What can I do to ensure the seafood remains fresh during the event?

Fresh and delicious catering starts with the ingredients, and that’s especially true when you’re dealing with something as delicate and tasty as lobster or mussels. Only use seafood caterers that buy the freshest seafood — flash-frozen options are okay too, especially in landlocked areas where there isn’t ready access to that day’s catch.

Shellfish served pre-chilled and presented on ice with drainage underneath — you don’t want mussels, clams, and shrimp sitting in melted water. Seafood should be brought out in batches, so nothing sits out too long on the guests’ side. It’s better to visit the fridge and restock the ceviche every 20 minutes than to realize the last bowl has been hanging around under the lights for hours.

The same idea applies to hot food. All hot dishes should be in warmers set to at least 140 degrees F. Watch your seafood to make sure fish and fried items aren’t drying out. Stews and steamed dishes are less susceptible to long waits.

How long have people been eating fish?

Researchers in Israel have discovered evidence that early humans may have been cooking and eating fish a staggering 780,000 years ago. Scientists found fish teeth in areas believed to be used as hearths, indicating that seafood was consumed much further back than previously suspected. In fact, access to fish — a non-scary, non-threatening food source — could be one reason those early humans stayed in one place rather than being nomadic.