One global mash-up we don’t often see is Vietnamese-Nordic. But Kevin Graham, Executive Chef of the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower in Portland, Ore., did just that. At a recent culinary boot camp sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, he came up with Pickled Blueberry Balls. “The dish is truly a spectacular flavor build, transforming with each bite,” says Julie Stas on behalf of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council’s foodservice communications. Starting with the blueberry, he pickles it in Nordic flavors, like allspice, juniper berry, clove and pine needles. He then coats it in shrimp paste, blueberry paste and ginger purée. The ball is rolled in crushed freeze-dried blueberries and panko, then deep-fried. Graham plates the ball with pumpkin-sesame seed butter, blue gastrique and blue agar. “The key to the dish is finding the perfect balance of the complex flavor profiles of Vietnamese and Nordic cuisines all blended deliciously into one bite,” Stas says.
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