Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Comeback Flavor Best of Flavor 2017

Oysters, Bacon & Brie - fried oysters, Brie, creamed spinach, bacon, yellow pepper coulis, citrus- honey gastrique, microgreens

James Musser, Corporate Executive Chef of parent company Al Copeland Investments, was looking to highlight Louisiana oysters at Copeland’s, a heritage brand that celebrates the region’s vast culinary offerings. He started by seasoning the oysters with a house blend, used primarily on chicken. “Lately, we’ve fallen back in love with that seasoning blend and decided to try it on as many different proteins and vegetables as we could,” he says. “We loved every application, and it delivered a different, but familiar experience with each, but it made the oysters shine. We tasted them and said, ‘This is Copeland’s. This has comeback flavor.’”

After seasoning the oysters, he breads and fries them until crunchy “but still luscious and juicy inside.” They’re placed over toasted batard rounds and barely-melted Brie. Creamed spinach and crisp applewood-smoked bacon go over top, then a citrus-honey gastrique and yellow pepper coulis finish this appetizer. “We wanted to create two experiences with this build: to keep the guests’ palates interested with alternating crunchy and creamy textures, and to mirror that with salty and sweet flavors,” says Musser. “You can imagine all the flavors playing off each other, with the oyster as the hero in the middle.”

He attributes the dish’s success to the seasoned oysters. “The seasoning blend is savory with notes of herbs, onion and garlic. It is spicy, but pulls back slightly before becoming offensive to diners. Paired with naturally briny and sweet Louisiana oysters, it’s a flavor combination that is truly addictive,” he says. The Oysters, Bacon & Brie dish is positioned front and center at the top of the appetizer page—a coveted spot normally held for house favorites. “We loved it so much that we wanted to give it the best chance we could right out of the gate.”

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