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Fast & Flavorful - Seafood Appetizers Deliver Quality and Economy

I must admit, I’m usually skeptical of ordering a seafood appetizer at a restaurant unless I’m on the coast within spitting distance of the ocean. After all, good seafood must be FRESH and fresh seafood, to me, means it was caught in the last 24 hours or has been flash frozen. I also find that when purchasing the occasional frozen appetizer to enjoy at an impromptu gathering, I usually go for vegetables and maybe chicken or pork but usually not seafood. All it takes is one soggy crab cake or bland shrimp roll to ruin it for the rest of the brands. Set any preconceptions you may have aside and try the three new frozen appetizers from Phillips Foods: Crispy Dim Sum, Crab Rangoon and Shrimp & Grits. You won’t be sorry.

The Phillips family are no strangers to the commercial seafood industry. They’ve been at it since 1914, when Brice and Shirley Phillips managed the A.E. Phillips & Son seafood plant in the Chesapeake Bay Area. Today, the company has a frozen seafood line for both foodservice and consumers that features recipes passed down from generation to generation, in addition to a string of Phillips Seafood restaurants along the Eastern U.S. coast. Offerings for both market segments include appetizers, soups, seasonings & sauces, crab cakes and crab meat, with the foodservice line also including fish and majestic blue crab meat.

First up on the tasting table was the Crispy Dim Sum which included shrimp spring rolls, shrimp wontons and shrimp purses. Although all three contained shrimp filling in a wrapper made of wheat flour, each style had a unique, authentic flavor. 

In addition to shrimp, the spring roll contained carrots and cabbage for lightness and shiitake mushrooms, garlic, and coriander for flavor. Crisp and delicious! The shrimp wontons had a creamy, almost decadent texture bursting with ginger, garlic, spring onion and shiitake mushrooms. These were my favorite. The shrimp purses or “money bags” had a filling that was more dense than the spring roll with the same authentic Asian flavors. Water chestnuts add a little crunch. Pineapple Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce is included (thaw packet in warm water) although I felt the flavors of these appetizers stood on their own without the need for dipping sauce. This appetizer is easy to prepare (bake for 14-18 min.) and is available for foodservice and consumer purchase.

Next up was the Crab Rangoon. The wrapper was tightly wound around a savory filling of crab meat, cream cheese, and sweet & salty seasonings for a crisp, flavorful bite. Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce was included and, again, I felt the flavors stood on their own although a little extra sweet and spicy sauce is always nice. This appetizer is easy to prepare (bake for 5 min. then turn over for another 5 min.) and is available for foodservice and consumer purchase.

Last up was the Southern Style Shrimp and Grits. This is not something I would typically try but I’m glad I did. The stoneground grits were cheesy and creamy like comfort food should be. The plump shrimp were small but full of flavor, thanks to the Phillips family’s seasoning mix. This appetizer is easy to prepare (microwave for 3-4 min.) and is available in stores for consumer purchase.

Santé is proud to call out organizations that have implemented green initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices. Steve Phillips, CEO of Phillips Foods, is working toward crab and seafood sustainability through fishery improvement programs and partnering with the NFI Crab Council and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership to foster responsible resource management. According to the company’s website, for every pound of Phillips crab meat sold, the company will donate 2¢ to fund NFI Crab Council programs and for each pound of fish sold, the company will donate 3¢ to SFP for key initiatives and vital programs.


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