Tag: Wagyu

Protein Rich Crostini Appetizers for Your Restaurant Menu

Consumers tastes are changing, and with millennials as a key target market for the restaurant industry, their preferences are reshaping the food service industry.   These particular customers prefer quality, high-protein meals and snacks that offer nutritional value.

The increased popularity of the Keto and Paleo diets has further changed the kind of menu options that restaurants are innovating across America.  Are you updating your menu to reflect some of these important shifts toward higher protein appetizers too?  If you are thinking about it, allow us to share some delicious inspiration to get you started.

Adding Creative Crostini to Your Restaurant Menu

In Italian, the word ‘crostini’ means ‘little toasts’. And when it comes to choosing the right bread for your crostini, most Chefs recommend a baguette or ciabatta.  The bread needs to have a constitution that will stand up to whatever garnishes you want to place on top (without getting soggy).  Pretzel bread is also another nice choice, to vary up the textures and the colors on the plate.

Crostini bread should be sliced about ¼ inches thick, and then toasted.  There are two ways to do this, depending on what kind of toppings and flavors you want to pile on top.  The traditional crostini are brushed with an olive oil and garlic seasoning, and then toasted in the oven until it is medium brown.  Another method is to deep fry the crostini for about half a minute, which provides a different texture and a hardy base for juicy meat and vegetable toppings.

There is a little bit of fun history that dates back to the medieval ages in Italy. It was developed as a peasant food, as the poor working class could not afford the luxury of plates.  Instead, they toasted bread and placed a combination of vegetables and meats on top, and each crostini was served in a large portion as a complete meal.

Today, the crostini in a restaurant setting is dainty.  It is not meant to be served on large pieces of bread, but rather as an elegant finger food and appetizers, après diner (before dinner).  A menu of crostini appetizers is perfect for establishments that serve wine and spirits, as they are a healthy and satisfying small meal that can be enjoyed with drinks.

How to Serve a Meat Crostini as an Appetizer Single Serving or Group Platter

If you are thinking about adding crostini to your appetizer menu, you will want to add at least three different options.  We recommend providing a vegetarian option for flexitarian diets, and then two different meat varieties, that will cater to customers who want to start their meal with a high-protein appetizer.

Because of the small size of a crostini appetizer, you want to pack as many layers of flavor as possible to create a delicious two to three bite serving.  That flavor creativity starts with the treatment of the bread used for the crostini; many establishments provide a fresh herb and organic olive oil base before toasting and adding their toppings.

You want to create a sensational and uncommon flavor experience, with each different crostini you serve on a platter (for groups) or a 2-3 crostini individual serving.  Plating crostini the right way means a variety of flavors or types of combinations on each piece of toasted bread.

Wagyu beef is uncommon; it’s not available in every grocery store, and the price can be prohibitive for most consumers to eat it on a regular basis.  However, tender sliced Wagyu or a premium Wagyu ground beef preparation garnished with grilled peppers?  That’s something your customers would definitely want to try.

What are some of the best garnishes to try on a crostini?

  • Grilled pears and Wagyu beef
  • Tender grilled beef slices, with jalapeno and fresh blueberries.
  • Beet hummus (its colorful!) ground sausage and fresh basil.
  • White meat turkey with fresh mango and red pepper jelly.
  • Blue cheese crumbled fresh dates and Wagyu beef.

Now that we’ve made you hungry to try some creative options for your restaurant, we’d like to share some of the amazing recipes we found online, with some uncommon but delicious layers of flavor, featuring healthy protein rich meat.  Get ready for some great recipe suggestions you can try on your menu.

Delicious Meat Crostini Ideas from our Team at Miami Beef®

Making creative and succulent crostini’s part of your appetizer menu is a great way to draw in the ‘app crowd’ to your restaurant. The customers who want to enjoy a few delicious appetizers with their friends (and a few beverages) during the big game, or for after-work social.

When we are looking for some new recipe inspiration, the first place we look is to food bloggers. We bookmark some of the most innovative amateur chefs who share tasty recipes with new spins on traditional favorites.  We’ve gathered a few of those suggestions for you to try.

  1. Beef Crostini with Horseradish Spread

This recipe is easy to prepare, economical and packed full of complimenting flavors when you start with tender cooked beef slices. Horseradish and beef are like peas and carrots, they are meant to go together because the combination is mouth-wateringly good.

The food bloggers at A Family Feast share this great recipe and chose to garnish with caramelized onions.  Want to kick it up a notch? Try using a bourbon or wine sauce to sauté the onions for an extra level of tasty.

  1. Beef Tenderloin with Whipped Goats Cheese and Pesto

Talk about delicious!  The medium rare grilled beef tenderloin sits on top of a spread of softened and whipped goat cheese, with a small dollop of fresh pesto on top.   It is elegant, full of rich complimenting flavors, and satisfying.

Get this great recipe  from the food bloggers at Domesticate Me.

  1. Sausage, Kale & Gruyere Pretzel Bread Crostini

Browned ground sausage meat on top of a toasted two-bite sized piece of pretzel bread, on a bed of prepared garlic kale and topped with Gruyere.  It’s uptown, but also healthy and delicious and recipe you may want to try in your own kitchen.    Get the how-to from Wry Toast Eats.

 

If you have some flavor suggestions, you would like to share with our team at Miami Beef® leave us a comment below.  We love hearing from our customers and restaurant entrepreneurs about creative menu option.

 

5 Star Appetizer Ideas Featuring Wagyu Beef

With so much similarity between standard restaurant menus, and increased competition for patrons and diner revenue, business owners have to keep innovating new and trending menu items.  While food trends change seasonally and annually, one of the hottest trends right now, is quality Wagyu beef.

Consumers can’t visit their local store and find Wagyu.  The price of the beef makes it prohibitive for most grocery stores to carry, unless it is offered by pound and custom portioned at the butcher counter.  It is because of this scarcity that the fascination and demand for Wagyu beef persists.  It is understood by diners to be the pinnacle of quality beef, and sometimes difficult to acquire.

This is good news for five-star and premium dining establishments, who can capitalize on the trend and scarcity to provide crowd pleasing appetizers.   Why appetizers and not entrees?  Because of the premium cost per pound for quality Wagyu beef, menus that offer entrees must do so at a higher price per serving ratio that is not always marketable to every customer and their budget.

When restaurants opt to add Wagyu to the menu, they typically begin with some savory and incredible appetizers.  The low-carb diet preference that is trending (along with keto and paleo diets) means that an appetizer that is rich is protein and exceptional flavor can quickly become a sales leader for your establishment.

At Miami Beef® we supply luxury dining establishments with quality Wagyu beef, and other premium options including American Style Kobe beef.  We’d like to share some of our inspirations for appetizers that center on premium Japanese beef we think your customers will love.

What You Need to Know About the Quality Standards of Wagyu

Developed in Japan, the native Asian cattle called “Wagyu” are internationally recognized as the pinnacle quality of beef.  In Japanese ‘Wa’ is translated as Japan, and ‘Gyu’ simply means cow.  While the name may not hold much intrigue, the origins of this exceptional quality beef certainly does.

Cattle genetics experts have determined that Wagyu may have developed as a unique breed more than 35,000 years ago.  Japan has a number of native cattle that reflect many different imported breeds.  For generations, the consumption of meat was illegal under Buddhist rule in Japan, and all cattle were used for agricultural purposes; they were draft animals for plowing.

A political shift in Japan in 1868 allowed the Japanese to eat beef, without fear of persecution or legal penalties. Interestingly it was always rumoured that the Japanese aristocracy had always eaten beef in secrecy, even during the Buddhist ban.

There are were three major black strains of cattle that culminated into what is now known today as Wagyu beef:

  • The Tajiri
  • The Fjuiyoshi or Shimane
  • The Kedaka (Tottori)

Within grades and sources of Wagyu beef, only four breeds of cattle (with closely documented lineage) may be considered to be true Wagyu.  Those breeds are:

  • The Japanese Black (predominantly exported to America)
  • The Japanese Brown (sometimes referred to as Red Wagyu)
  • Japanese Polled
  • Japanese Shorthorn

The Japanese Polled and Japanese Shorthorn breeds of Wagyu are not sold or exported as live breeding cattle outside of the country.  In fact, the two breeds are known as the highest level of beef quality available in the world, and it is illegal to breed them except for a small handful of approved ranchers in Japan.

When you hear about the elite of Japanese cattle living in stress-free environments, receiving milk and special foods and even being massaged, these are the two breeds referenced, and the extreme quality control and ranching measures in place.

Now that you know a little bit about the history and strict restrictions involved with producing Wagyu beef, you can start to appreciate why people think it is ‘such a big deal’ when they see it on the menu.

Four Incredible Wagyu Beef Appetizers for Restaurant Menus

Whether you operate a five-star dining establishment, a private lounge or club with V.I.P. boxes and champagne service, Wagyu beef appetizers carry a level of prestige that accompanies any luxury meal or beverage experience.

While options like grilled Wagyu skewers with satay or tangy dipping sauce, or a table-side service grilling tender, thin portions of Wagyu custom for your diner, appetizers are by far the easiest to implement on your menu.  And with controlled portion sizes, Wagyu appetizers can become a big revenue generator and profit center for your restaurant.

  1. Beef Tataki with Ponzu Sauce

One of the first rules that Chefs know about Wagyu, is to season it gently.  That means from the cooking process, straight through to the side dish served and dipping sauce.  Because of the premium quality of Wagyu beef, customers want to taste that exceptional beef flavor.  Make sure not to mask any of the natural richness of the beef during preparation.

Beef Tataki is a medium rare preparation, that takes full advantage of the rich flavor of Wagyu beef.  Without over cooking the portions, each tender piece can be dipped in the delicious herbaceous (but mild) Ponzu sauce, that has a little spicy kick (thanks to the fresh Chile sauce).

It’s a mouth-watering delicacy and beautiful presentation suitable for a five-star dining experience!  We love this recipe from four-time James Beard Award Winning and TV Celebrity Chef Andrew Zimmern.

Source: Web 2019 andrewzimmern.com

  1. Wagyu Beef Crostini

Either as a tartar or a grilled appetizer portion, served with some delicious accoutrements and a mild seasoning, Wagyu can be the star of your appetizer crostini menu.   Pair it with a rigid but lightly toasted crostini base, that consider the following topping suggestions:

  • Mustard cress greens
  • Goat cheese
  • Grilled pear and brie cheese
  • Fresh basil and yellow tomato (sweet and mild)
  • Grilled sweet or hot pepper
  • Caramelized onion
  • Grilled eggplant (aubergine)
  • Grilled asparagus

Check out this gallery and slideshow from Delish.com for 14 innovative flavor combinations that may inspire you to add premium Wagyu to your crostini appetizer menu.

  1. Wagyu Tartar with Spicy Mayo, Caviar and Garnishes

Purists who love the flavor of beef will insist on ordering Wagyu appetizers tartar.  This specialty method of serving raw beef should only be done by an experienced Chef.

Quality Wagyu doesn’t get more ‘uptown’ than when it is garnished with caviar! This delicious recipe from Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto expertly pairs Wagyu with a savory spicy mayo, and the ‘surf and turf’ combination that is becoming more popularized in sushi fine dining establishments.

If you would like to add premium Wagyu Beef to your five-star menu, contact our team at Miami Beef® We are a family owned business that has built a reputation as a quality meat processor and supplier for almost 100 years, and our team will help provide some inspiration and options for food service excellence.

Wagyu Beef Should Be the Star of Your Steakhouse or Asian Menu

It is not about how much you eat, but the quality of food and the impeccable flavors that you experience when you dine out.   The top of the line quality of beef is Wagyu, and while you won’t find it offered on a buffet, it is one of the most elegant bites of meat that you can enjoy.

There is an important shift happening in the North American restaurant market.  Consumers are more health conscious than ever before and making different choices when it comes to dining out.  It’s really not about quantity anymore, and in fact, many consumer studies speculate that consumers are beginning to distrust large portions.   And dislike them, as many are making healthier choices about the number of calories, carbohydrates and fats they consume on a daily basis.

If you have heard the name of this premium type of beef, but you aren’t sure where to buy it, or how to incorporate it as a prestige item on your menu, we’re about to introduce you to some delicious facts about Wagyu.

The Culture and History of Wagyu Beef Production in Japan

Because Japan is such a small country with a large population, eating beef was something that was slow to be adopted by the common people.  In fact, for over 2,000 years cattle were only used for labor to cart supplies or to pull plows on farms.   It was this heritage of the ‘working cattle’ that helped create what Chefs label as the ‘ultimate taste in beef’, and Wagyu today is recognized around the world as the pinnacle of quality.

The Wagyu cattle aurochs are believed to have originated from Africa, Asia and Europe, and were domesticated from the now extinct wild ox (Bos primegenius), which roamed through those continents but were most prevalent in North East Asia.  They were domesticated for farm labor, and developed through generations of breeding, increased muscle and marbling that is unique to the breed.

It’s important to note that for most of history, Buddhist leaders did not religiously allow the consumption of any meat from a four-legged animal.   The Wagyu (a Bos Taurus breed) was a hereditary combination of the Japanese Black and Bos Taurus lineage from Europe.  The most prized Wagyu were raised in the Okayama Prefecture, and called “Tsuru” in the early 1800’s and only the traits of the cows (or maternal breeding information) was retained.

In 1867 the political rule of Buddhist leaders was ended, and during the Meij Restoration it became legal to eat livestock and meat again.  This marked an important shift in the breeding strategy for cattlemen, as the animals had been previously raised for strength, and endurance, but not for the production of milk or meat.   A port was opened in Yokohama for international trade, and beef was shipped internationally, under the name of Kobe Beef.

Does that mean that Kobe and Wagyu are the same?  No, because there was an important evolution and cross breeding that happened around the same time, when Japanese cattle ranchers realized that the demand for the beef was marketable (and at a premium price).   Over a ten-year period, about 2,500 head of cattle were imported from Great Britain and crossed with the native Japanese bloodlines in the prefectures.   While improving and refining the quality of the Kobe meat, the prices for the cattle dropped slightly as they were deemed not strong enough to be sold for agricultural labor.

In 1919, the Japanese government required registration and the identification of “improved Japanese Cattle”.  Every prefecture or territory had their own super breed and lineage, but in 1944 the Japanese government established that there were three official and unique breeds of cattle; Kobe, Wagyu and the Japanese Shorthorn.

It was serious (and profitable) business, and as such there were breeding unions established in every town and region.   The union committee decided which bulls would be used for breeding and matched them with hand picked cows.    Desirable traits included soft skin, a fine and soft coat, a textured but graceful horn and a clean-cut face with no abnormalities of color.

As you can imagine with such selective and pure breeding, inbreeding is a prevalent in the Wagyu and Kobe beef herds. Yet despite the levels of inbreeding (Mishima 22.9%), (Japanese Black 48.8%) and the Japanese Brown at 61.2%, there are few to no problems with health and the passing of the quality genetic traits that make Wagyu so coveted.

Each Wagyu calf is documented from birth and has a record of its complete lineage.  To this day, Japan fiercely guards the genetic lines that have made this breed famous worldwide.  Between 1976 and 1998, only 200 Wagyu were imported to breeders in the United States.

Today, the American Wagyu Association estimates that there may be 30,000 cattle that share similar bloodlines with traditional Japanese Wagyu, but less than 5,000 head of the cattle are pedigree and full-blood in their lineage. Special methods are used to produce the rich marbling and tender beef, with ranches dedicated to the American version of Wagyu (and Kobe) in Texas, Iowa, Idaho and New Mexico.

Incorporating Wagyu Beef into Your Five-Star Menu

Wagyu is graded on a scale like other types of beef, and that grade is awarded based on the amount of inter-muscular fat and the overall texture of the beef.  The BMS rating pertains to the level of marbling, coloration of the meat and the fat color.

The grading scale for Wagyu beef is as follows:

  • 5 – Excellent (BMS 8-12)
  • 4 – Good (BMS 5-7)
  • 3 – Average (BMS 3-4)
  • 2 – Below Average (BMS 2)
  • 1 – Poor (BMS 1)

The higher the number, the better the quality of Wagyu beef.  And this is important for restaurants to determine how they plan to serve it, and what portion size to profitability ratio they plan for an entrée or appetizer.   For instance, Wagyu ground beef is delicious, but can be rated a 1-3, and still provide exceptional flavor and nutrition compared to standard beef.  Whereas grilled steaks, or sliced portions like tender teppanyaki require a higher grade of Wagyu.

When you are serving the internationally recognized pinnacle of beef in your restaurant, you can and should make it the shining star because of the scarcity and the divine flavor and texture of the beef.   So, what does that look like for fine dining establishments?  We would like to give you some inspired recipe ideas and cooking methods to try at home (or in your restaurant or catering business).

Cooking Tips and Preparation for Premium Wagyu Beef

To get the best flavor and texture out of cooked Wagyu (and like other premium cuts of beef) it is essentially important to not over cook it.  Grass fed Wagyu is very forgiving, as the rich marbling and fat help to keep the moisture intact, but open flame or oven heat that is too high can rapidly dehydrate the meat, leaving it dry and less flavorful.

Ground Wagyu is the only exception to this rule, but when roasting or grilling whole portions, a meat thermometer should be used to achieve the right internal temperature for the desired level of finished preparation.

  Rare Medium Rare Medium Medium Well Well Done
Temperature 125-130°F 130-140°F 140-150°F 150-160°F 160-170°F
½ inch portion 2 mins 2-3 mins 3-4 mins 4-5 mins 5-6 mins
1.5 inch portion 5-6 mins 6-7 mins 8-9 mins 10-11 mins 11-12 mins
           

If grilling a Wagyu portion, make sure to take it out of refrigeration at least one hour before you plan to cook it.  Do not cook it cold.  Warming the meat allows the fat to reach room temperature for a more juicy and delicious steak.

When roasting a portion of Wagyu, do not exceed 250°F to preserve tenderness.  Sear in a skillet or on a grill on both sides before roasting, to retain the moisture of the meat and add a delicious seasoned light char texture on the exterior of the portion.

Some Chef’s also use Sous Vide to prepare Wagyu, and it is also a popular cooking method for the restaurants that serve A5 Wagyu in Japan.  The fat is retained during the hydro cooking process, and tenderizes the meat through the slow cooking method.

Before serving, always rest a grilled or roasted portion of Wagyu at least 10 minutes before carving for the plate.  This allows the moisture to disperse through the portion and helps preserve the tenderness of the premium beef.

Three Delicious Wagyu Recipe Inspirations for Restaurants

If you are serving roasted vegetables with your Wagyu, we recommend using the fat trimmings to sauté the vegetables, to naturally infuse some of the rich beef flavors.  It is a five-star steakhouse secret that helps create an aromatic and satisfying meal.

Here are some delicious recipes to consider adding to your menu, using quality Wagyu beef:

  1. Shabu-Shabu

Using a fondue pot tableside (or hot pot) provides an exciting dining experience for couples, or for groups, who enjoy cooking their own food over a conversational meal.   Wagyu is sliced paper thin, and accompanied by healthy fresh vegetables like mushroom, Asian cabbage, julienne carrots and green onions in a rich broth.  Don’t forget the fresh garlic and ginger!

Check out this recipe from Food & Wine.

  1. Grilled Wagyu Steak

One of the key things to remember about Wagyu is that less seasoning is required.  Since the Wagyu is already flavorful, you want to gently season it to preserve the rich beef and fat marbled flavor of this premium cut.

Celebrity Chefs recommend using kosher salt (or sea salt) to season the grill, before placing the portion of Wagyu on an open flame.  Use our temperature guide to achieve the right level of cooking.  Season lightly with pepper and serve.

For more instructions check out this article on The Food Network.

  1. Wagyu Scratch Burgers

Who said that you cannot make the humble hamburger into a premium entrée?  When you start with ground Wagyu beef, you can elevate the ordinary to extraordinary, and make it an elite burger on your menu.

We love this savory recipe for Wagyu Beef Burgers on the food blog Silver Oak.  They top it with a homemade fig and caramelized onion jam and sharp white cheddar.

 

Miami Beef® has been a trusted supplier of quality meat to the food service industry in America, and to commercial customers overseas for over fifty years.   Contact our sales team to learn more about our premium Wagyu selections and how to incorporate this world renowned quality beef into your five-star menu.