When it’s time to innovate, the smart move is to take an existing winner and build upon it. The Cajun Fish Tenders at Captain D’s were an inspired next step beyond the popular Fish Tenders—cuts of whitefish fillet coated in a variety of ways. “The Cajun Fish tenders start with the whole-muscle whitefish portions—we don’t use block-pressed fish. Our fish is untreated, with no added chemicals; just natural, flaky whitefish,” says Jason Henderson, VP of Product Innovation. Next comes a layered approach: a flavored pre-dusting to boost the final taste and to help the batter adhere to the fish. Each tender is then hand-dipped in batter and rolled in a special, seasoned breading; two distinct styles of coatings are blended in the final step.
“One key component of building the flavor of the Cajun coating is adding a balancing citrus note,” says Henderson. “We have those bolder Cajun flavors of garlic, onion and pepper, as well as some of the herbaceous ingredients like celery and thyme, but that ‘just-right’ citrus balance is what I think really makes this product distinct and craveable.”
The fish tenders are made to be easy to dunk in D’s selection of sauces. The item appeals to those seeking bolder flavors, while also staying approachable—and with the Southern flair for which Captain D’s is known. “This was definitely one of the best of our offerings: high quality, value-filled and traffic-driving.” The item’s strong performance led to a new offering: Cajun Breaded Butterfly Shrimp, making use of the same breading system and flavor profile.