Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Ode to Spring Best of Flavor 2017

Webster’s Prime offer scallops with clamshell mushrooms, spring peas, dashi and pork belly
PHOTO CREDIT:

Nathan Shaw

Most chefs embrace seasonal ingredients, coveting them for their short-lived appearance and high-impact impression. At Webster’s Prime, a steakhouse and tavern at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, the culinary team enjoys four diverse Michigan seasons. Nathan Shaw, Sous Chef, expresses seasonality artfully with his Scallops with Dashi and Pork Belly. “This spring dish is a favorite of ours,” he says. “We change our menu three to four times a year, but it is still requested year-round for tasting menus and special events. It’s the perfect expression of nature’s shift from winter to spring.

Green vegetables begin to sprout and countless varieties of mushrooms appear deep within our northern woods. The scallops are nestled on some of these elusive delicacies, suspended in a subtle, wholesome broth.”

Spring’s bounty also encourages switch-outs. “This dish is meant to be flexible and open to interpretation,” says Shaw. “If you come across amazing spring ramps, add the bulbs to the base of the dish and garnish with the leaves. If morel mushrooms arrive at your door, replace the clamshell mushrooms.” One constant pairing is scallops with cured pork. “We’ve used bacon, prosciutto, speck and even lardo with scallops,” he says.

The interplay of components is what makes this a standout dish. “The broth­—poured tableside— is intended to give a delicate umami base, allowing the other flavors to stand out more—the sweet of scallops and peas, the salt of pork, bitter from garnishes, sour from miso, and, of course, umami echoed by the mushrooms,” says Shaw. “The goal is ensuring a balance of flavors, textures and temperatures in every bite.”

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