Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Flavor Playlist: Lucas Clarke Five flavors that inspire culinary creativity

Lucas Clarke

Lucas Clarke

Lucas Clarke carries the whimsical title of “Head Lettuce Juggler” for MAD Greens, a fast-casual salad concept based in Golden, Colo. He leads the culinary team, which is tasked with creating modern salad builds, wraps, paninis and more.

Thriving in this competitive category, MAD Greens puts forward such items as its Crazy Ivan, with baby greens, roasted beets, pumpkin seeds, grilled citrus chicken and sherry-molasses vinaigrette—as well as sides like Spicy Avocado Hummus with warm pita or slices of car

MARIONBERRY

As an Oregonian, I have always loved the marionberry. One of my favorite childhood memories is picking fresh berries to make jam and cobbler with my mom and brother. Marionberry vinaigrette is an amazing seasonal dressing that brings some sweetness to more savory salads.

MEDJOOL DATES

This is one of my favorite ingredients. It has a milder, more delicate flavor than other miso pastes and is easily adaptable. It’s great in soups, dressings and vegetable cookery. I use it most often as an ingredient in a quick bok choy braise with vegetable stock and butter. It makes a great base for a casual fish dish.

CARDAMOM

Cardamom is such a versatile spice—aromatic and citrusy. I use it when making my own chai tea. I work it into French toast and add it to my favorite style of basmati rice. It’s a great spice that can be woven into many different applications.

PADRÓN PEPPERS

This Spanish pepper is fantastic in a tapenade because it isn’t overly spicy, and it adds a really nice texture to dips and sauces. My favorite application is for snacking—douse in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt for a great shareable appetizer. Simple and tasty.

CHOQUETTE AVOCADO

This is my favorite avocado variety. I discovered it at a fruit stand in Florida called “Robert Is Here.” This buttery and nutty smooth avocado is huge and can be used in many different applications. I render it into sauces and salad dressings, and it’s great as an appetizer with lime and salt.

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