Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
April 26, 2022

Bar snacks present an ideal format to integrate on-trend finishing salts. These premium salts are becoming a coveted taste and menu callout, much like we have seen with the culinary focus on umami. Featuring different salt varietals and types, like sea salt, mineral salt, flaked salt, smoked salt and black lava salt, is the hook and key ingredient that turns bar snacks into destination drivers. When used strategically, they create multidimensional taste and texture, intensifying and heightening savory, sweet, spicy and umami flavors, or they can introduce their own unique flavor profiles.

Signature salted snacks paired with an equally engaging beverage menu create an indelible flavor experience. Here, we’ve compiled a list of 10 menu ideas, setting the stage for leveraging the impactful qualities of premium salts.

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  1. Date Night: Barbecue pulled pork-stuffed Medjool date, rolled in peppered bacon salt
  2. Skewered Thai Beef: Beef satay flavored with roasted peanut sticky sauce, lemongrass-Sriracha sea salt
  3. Mexican Arancini “Doughnuts”: Miniature breaded and fried rice “doughnuts” (loaded with minced carnitas/Oaxaca cheese), ancho-lime salt
  4. 3-Bite Meatball: 50/50 roasted maitake mushroom-ground beef meatball, whipped ricotta, white truffle salt
  5. Charcuterie Cup: Pork and duck rillettes, toasted baguette slices, Hawaiian red clay sea salt-roasted vegetables, Champagne grapes
  6. Steak n’ Ale Sliders: Ale-marinated steak bites, cherrywood smoked salt flakes, Parker House slider buns, fontina fondue dip
  7. Mystic Tots: Shredded potato and ground chorizo fried tots, black lava salt, onion gravy
  8. Black and Tan Bites: Paprika-cacao nib sea salt-rubbed double smoked brisket burnt ends, caramel-tahini dip
  9. Figgy Fuego Ribs: Smoked pork ribs, fig demi-glace, jalapeño sea salt
  10. Dirty Popcorn: Popcorn, pounded machaca, honey sea salt (Maldon sea salt flakes, granulated honey)

FEATURED RECIPE

Smithfield Culinary

For an elevated take on a salty-sweet snack, these Bacon and Plantain Pinchos answer the call, getting a hit of garlicky, bright chimichurri as an additional flavor punch.

GET THE RECIPE FOR Bacon and Plantain Pinchos

About The Author

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ROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu. [email protected]