Center of the Plate Blog

Industry Musings

Archive for March, 2010


Seafood Manicotti with Lobster Cream Sauce

This is the last in a series of recipes dedicated to seafood for this season of Lent. This dish on a holiday menu gives diners an additional non-traditional choice with items that celebrate the season. Manicotti paired with a cream sauce creates a rich and filling dish with fresh nautical tastes in the seafood and lobster. The addition of basil as a garnish adds a subtle yet fresh flavor.

Before you read on, make sure you come and see us at our annual Food Show at Gillette Stadium on April 7 from 10:00am to 5:00pm.Come see me and the other AGAR experts from this wholesale food distributor and find great ideas to bring in more traffic to your restaurant and build your profits at the same time. More info can be found here; And if you read Karen’s last blog, you’ll hear just why you need to make time to hit the Food Show.


Carla’s Seafood Manicotti      2 each

Minor’s Lobster Base              ¼ oz.

Minor’s Culinary Cream         2 oz.

Fresh Basil                              garnish


Cook manicotti per instructions on package. Combine cream and base, mix well and heat. Place heated manicotti in soup plate and top with heated lobster cream. Garnish with fresh basil.

Leave a Comment


AGAR’s April Food Show; Building Great Relationships…

This April we’ll conduct another annual Food Show to showcase many of our products and to help our customers get the products they need, at the prices they can work with. We’ll also try hard to get them the knowledge they seek to help them run a profitable operation. As a wholesale food distributor in New England, we serve many in the region with not only great products but valuable advice to keep them going strong. The food show will take place at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA on April 7 and is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm. To register, please go to:

Our theme this year is “Building Great Relationships.” Why? Well, with a new 50,000 S/F expansion that will help us serve the customer even better and a renewed emphasis on the basics of building relationships with your customers, we felt it was fitting. There is nothing better that focusing on building relationships, especially in tough times. We feel this is an important lesson and one that many AGAR customers and others will take away from the Food Show. Please take a look at my talk with our very own Chef Merry about what people can expect at this year’s Food Show.

Leave a Comment


How About Some Grilled Vegetable Ravioli…

As a chef at a wholesale food distributor, I often hear customers asking for something that will wow their customers. One that I like is grilled vegetable ravioli. This is a non-traditional menu choice for diners which celebrates the fresh, new taste of the season through a variety of vegetables. Complimented by a light sauce punched up with white wine, the pasta creates a comforting taste that typically comes from home cooked holiday feasts. When added to your festive menu, this dish can satisfy vegetarian diners or create a healthy alternative for selective eaters.Grilled ravioli


Grilled vegetable ravioli                                            7 pieces (aprox. ½ lb.)

Zucchini, halved, seed, ¼” sliced                                 1 oz.

Red Pepper Pesto                                                                 4 oz.

Yellow squash, 1/4:” sliced                                              1 oz.

Red onion, 1/8” julienne                                                   1 oz.

Chopped garlic                                                                       pinch

Olive oil                                                                                     1 oz.

White wine                                                                                1 oz.

Kosher salt and pepper                                                        to taste

Parsley sprig                                                                              garnish

Preparation Instructions:

Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a 3-4 quart pot. Immerse 1 serving (7 pieces) of frozen ravioli in a wire pasta basket. After rolling boil returns, cook ravioli for 2 minutes or internal temperature of 160 F. Immediately after immersing ravioli add the olive oil, onion and to preheated 12” sauté pan on medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic until onions are transparent, do not burn the garlic. Add the zucchini, squash, red pepper pesto, and white wine. Continue to sauté until ravioli are ready. Lift the ravioli from the water and drain for 15 seconds, add directly to your pan. Sauté vegetable mixture and ravioli until all ravioli are coated in the sauce. Place ravioli on a warm plate, garnish with parsley.

Leave a Comment


It’s 65 Degrees Out Today…

How about some Seared Scallops with Balsamic Glaze and Sauteèd Greens.Scallops Seared

This tasty dish gives diners a more traditional holiday choice with crisp and light elements. The fresh taste of the sea derived from the Nautifish scallops is strongly enhanced with a sharp balsamic glaze and will delight taste buds. Sauteéd greens add a fresh springtime flavor to the plate and also give diners a healthy meal alternative.


Sea scallops                                               8 oz

Canola oil                                                   2 tbsp

Escarole                                                      ½ lb

Salt and pepper                                       to taste

Balsamic vinegar                                     ¼ cup

Chicken stock or Broth                           ¼ cup


Pat scallops dry. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add scallops to the skillet, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook the scallops without moving them, until the bottoms are golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs or a spatula, gently turn the scallops and cook them just until opaque throughout. Transfer the scallops to a dish (cover to keep warm). Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the escarole and stir-fry just until wilted, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and divide among individual plates. Return the skillet to medium high heat, add the vinegar and stock and simmer, stiffing to scrape the bottom of the skillet, until the sauce is reduced to about ¼ cup and forms a glaze that will coat the back of a spoon, 2-3 minutes. Season. Transfer the scallops to the plate and spoon the sauce around the scallops and greens.

Leave a Comment


Get Ready for Spring; Orange Ginger Shrimp Lo Mein

This dish is definitely a departure from traditional holiday meals of ham and chicken. However, the clean taste of shrimp gives customers a traditional feeling meal that is light and flavorful. Orange and ginger provide the fresh taste of springtime and the Lo Mein noodle compliment leaves diners satisfied. Fresh snow peas and scallions are a perfect, wholesome addition and keep the dish light enough to be part of a buffet or served as an entrée.  Once again, this wholesale food distributor will get you ready for spring.

Orange Ginger Shrimp


Cooked Lo Mein Noodles      ½ lb.

Cooked peeled and

Deveined shrimp 21/25           6 oz.

Snow peas                               4 oz

Straw Mushrooms                   4 oz.

Scallions                                  ½ cup

Garlic                                      1 tbsp.

Orange Ginger Sauce              ¾ cup

Preparation Instructions:

Heat 2 tsp. oil in a sauté pan. Add garlic. Add shrimp and vegetable stir fry for about 15 seconds. Add sauce and heat. Add noodles and serve.

Leave a Comment


New warehouse is just about ready

We broke ground in October 2009 and today I can report that our new warehouse addition is just about ready for inventory. The new space will encompass 25,000 square feet of dry storage and another 25,000 square feet of frozen storage. It will allow us to continue to serve the independent restaurant and continue to offer them competitive pricing at a time they need it most.

There are a lot of people to thank for making this happen but we really need to thank the City of Taunton, the City Council, all in the office of economic development and the mayor’s office for working with us on the project. Because of our promise to stay in Taunton and build our workforce, AGAR was awarded a TIFF (or Tax Increment Financing Agreement.) It will cover our new expansion through the years 2011-2017.

We are proud to have our home in the City of Taunton. It is not only a great location but the location serves us well, allows us to have rail car service which ultimately benefits our customer with lower prices. As a wholesale food distributor, we have to be conscious every day of our pricing and how it affects our customers. After all, we’re here to serve them and advocate for their success.

See my short video with Taunton Mayor Charles Crowley and see the festivities that went on that day:

Leave a Comment


More Lent Recipes; Haddock in Tomato Basil Sauce

A nice, fresh, haddock accompanied with a sharp tomato taste gives diners a meal that is fresh, light and lifts their souls. Springtime tastes vary from cold weather tastes the desire for fresh, light garlic and onion seasoning is preferred to over heavy creamy tastes. This dish provides a sharp punch with the combination of tomato, basil, onion and garlic while the eggplant is a lovely partner to fresh fish. Adding a little pasta keeps the meal light for customers but does not make them feel weighed down and ready for a ‘long winter’s nap’ as they leave your restaurant. Haddock with Tomato BasilAs a chef at a wholesale food distributor, I find haddock to be a popular request so make sure you have some on the menu. And make sure it’s Nautifish…


Nautifish Haddock                8 oz.

Olive Oil 10% Blend              2 Tsp.

Ground Pepper                        1/8 Tsp.

Chopped Onion                      1 Tbsp.

Chopped Garlic                       1 Tsp.

Fresh Basil                              1 Tbsp.

Eggplant chopped                   1 Each

Paprika                                    ½ Tsp.

Alta Cucina Italian Plum        4 oz.


Orfresco Penne Pasta              4 oz.

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub haddock fillet with 1 tsp. of olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes (fish should easily flake with fork). While fish is roasting, sauté onions, garlic, and eggplant in the remaining oil for about 20 seconds. Stir in paprika, basil and add tomatoes. Stir for 30 seconds. Cook Penne pasta according to directions on package. Place haddock on plate over pasta and spoon warm tomato sauce over it. Garnish with Basil sprig.

Leave a Comment


St. Patrick’s Day; The One Item You Must Have on the Menu

On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone seems to discover a wee bit o’ the Irish in them. Along with the urge to don green from head to toe, many also like to celebrate the holiday with the traditional Irish and Irish-American dish of corned beef and cabbage. With the holiday on the on a Wednesday this year, you may look to add this dish to your lunch menu to satisfy those at work looking for festive taste as well as to your dinner menu for families and other diners who may be out celebrating after work. When accompanied by a pint of Guinness, any leafy greens and a minty green dessert, you will have the perfect St. Patrick’s Day special on your menu. Let AGAR your wholesale food distributor, get you everything you need.Corned Beef

This dinner is the perfect repast with meat, vegetables and a starch in the potatoes. It will satisfy diners with a great appetite or those looking to get a taste of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Diners may also enjoy an additional nod to tradition with a serving of bread pudding following their entrée.


Corned Beef                           8 oz.

Turnips                                    2 oz.

Red New Potatoes                  4 oz.

Cabbage                                  2 oz.

Alder Merrill Harvest Bread Pudding    5 oz.

Preparation Instructions:

Cook brisket per instructions on package. Remove the meat and set aside, keeping the meat warm. Add the vegetables to the pot. Check the broth for taste, if it is too salty, add a little more water to taste. Raise the temperature and bring the soup to a high simmer. Cook at a high simmer until done – about 15 to 30 minutes longer, depending on the size of the cut of the vegetables. Slice the meat in thin slices. Serve in bowls, a few pieces of meat in each, add some of the vegetables and some broth.

Leave a Comment


Lobster is Always in Season Here

In the kitchen, less is more with spring ingredients and that’s the case with our Papardelle in Lobster Sauce. This dish will please diners looking for a taste of home at their favorite restaurant gently accented with celebratory tastes of spring. As a seasonal dish, Garlic Cream Lobster Pastathis meal reflects the warmer temperatures with fresh sea ingredients combined with a light yet filling pasta. The addition of asparagus further enhances the clean taste in the dish emphasized with chives and garlic. This scrumptious dish will please diners looking for subtle, seasonal tastes. Once again, this wholesale food distributor has you covered with great seafood recipes for any season.


Nautifish Lobster Meat           6 oz.

Olive Oil 10% Blend              2 Tsp.

Fresh Sliced Mushrooms         2 oz.

Chopped Garlic                       1 Tsp.

Fresh Chopped Asparagus      2 oz.

Fresh Chopped Chive             1 Tbsp.

Nautifish Lobster Bisque        4 oz.

Papardelle Pasta                      4 oz.

Preparation Instructions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil, sauté chopped garlic, sliced mushrooms and chopped asparagus. Deglaze with white wine. Stir in Lobster bisque.

Add Lobster meat and toss. Cook Pasta according to the directions on the package; once cooked toss pasta with the sauce. Place on a plate and garnish with chopped chives.

Leave a Comment