Appetizers at catered events are nothing new. They have been a favorite component of successful full-service catering menus for more than a decade. Today, caterers are thinking beyond the stuffed mushrooms and peeled shrimp. Whether passed or served at stations, appetizers are a great way to give guests a wide range of flavor sensations that are less filling, and sized more appropriately for sampling. What’s changing are the types of foods being offered in small one- or two-bite portions, and a global influence that’s more varied than ever.
Appetizers inspired by cultures around the world.
The same global influences that are driving the food truck craze are also being embraced by New Orleans caterers like Messina’s Catering and Events. Asian cuisine like sushi, seafood spring rolls, and seared ahi tuna appear on a lot of Messina’s catering menus. Street tacos are all the rage right now as well, packing a lot of spicy Latin flavor into small hand-held tortillas. Middle Eastern influences blend bite-sized curries and spreads like hummus, white bean dip, and Baba Ganoush served on pita triangles that are as both tasteful and visually satisfying.
Globally inspired foods are often some of the most adventurous options as well. Imagine wowing your guests with Jamaican jerk chicken lettuce wraps, kimchi and crab stuffed portabella mushrooms, or boneless hoisin buffalo wings. The flavors are bold and unforgettable and can bring color, texture and intrigue to any event.
Vegan and gluten-free are here to stay.
Even the omnivores on the guest list know there are more types of protein than just meat. As people become more aware of plant-based alternatives, their acceptance of these on the catering menu grows as well. Likewise, for gluten-free. More and more Americans identify themselves as gluten-intolerant and many have actually been diagnosed with Celiac disease, which renders their digestive systems unable to easily process wheat and other grains. Caterers are responding with tasty substitutions and serving up dishes like watermelon and feta with Balsamic vinaigrette and plant-based charcuteries are great options.
Another really popular catering menu items right now are cauliflower dishes that satisfy both concerns. Both vegan and gluten-free, buffalo cauliflower with a side of blue cheese and roasted cauliflower with creamy parmesan dip are two great examples. Other dishes that fit the gluten-free, vegan bill are fresh mango kiwi salsa with rice crackers, or stuffed Anaheim peppers with creamy cilantro tahini sauce.
Locally sourced ingredients bring freshness to any catering menu.
New Orleans offers a treasure trove of locally sourced ingredients that can be swimming that morning and gracing a passed hors de oeuvre tray that evening. That’s why you’ll see New Orleans caterers like Messina’s serving up fresh Louisiana seafood in a wide variety of ways: In shrimp and mirliton bisque or oyster artichoke soup shooters; Crabmeat stuffed mushrooms; Crawfish étouffée bouchée; And Louisiana crawfish cakes. Even alligator makes it onto many of Messina’s catering menus, and is a dramatic appetizer station that will have the smart phone cameras snapping away. Oysters on the half shell, served fresh and shucked right in front of guests, is another crowd pleaser.
For your next New Orleans catered event, make sure you have plenty of appetizers on hand.
Passed and stationed appetizers are a great way to treat your guests to a wide variety of flavors, and can often be a little easier on the budget. A full-service caterer like Messina’s can help you plan the perfect menu inspired by a theme, your preferences, or the season – just like they’ve been doing since 1961. Learn more by visiting MessinasCatering.com.