Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
April 26, 2022

Infused sea salts have become a premium menu callout, enticing patrons with the promise of distinctive flavor. Chefs are bringing them in as dynamic flavoring tools within their menu development. Whether used to enhance flavors or as a delicate yet impactful finishing touch, infused sea salts deliver a bold, signature experience.

Here, we look at three straightforward, trending sea salt infusions, laying out the opportunity, food application, signature house-blend idea, and “try this” inspiration with both beef and pork.

CITRUS-INFUSED SEA SALT

Citrus awakens the palate and always feels fresh and relevant. Bright, fruit-forward, tart salt provides a contrast to the richness of meats, dips and rustic-prepared vegetables. It also uplifts flavors in seafood and lighter vegetable preparations.

Food Applications

  • Rub it on chicken or beef, sprinkle on carnitas, punch up guacamole, enhance raw and grilled vegetables, or use as a finishing touch on sautéed shrimp.

Signature In-House Blend

  • Citrus Supreme Salt: Fleur de sel + dried clementine and lemon peel + pink peppercorn

Try This

  • Citrus Salted Pork Tostada: Fried blue corn tortilla, avocado purée, thinly sliced roasted Mexican brown sugar-glazed pork tenderloin, microgreens, Citrus Supreme Salt sprinkle

SMOKE-INFUSED SEA SALT

Smoked menu callouts resonate with patrons and drive interest. Smoked salt provides an easy way to transform traditional menu items, add smokehouse flavor in nontraditional ways, or even double down with layers of smoke flavor in one offering.

Food Applications

  • Sprinkle on a hamburger patty, add to meatballs, season potatoes, flavor creamy cheese (burrata, mascarpone), or stir into hot honey.

Signature In-House Blend

  • Smoked Mushroom Salt: Sea salt (mesquite smoked) + porcini mushroom powder + dried garlic flakes

Try This

  • Smokehouse Smashburger: Smoked Mushroom Salt-seasoned smashburger, Havarti, peppered bacon, onion tanglers, barbecue aïoli; potato bun

HEAT-INFUSED SEA SALT

Consumers crave unique flavor combinations with spicy exotic flair. Chile-spiked salt provides operators yet another way to deliver the flavor of global heat or specific pepper varietals, injecting a sensory experience into all kinds of savory applications.

Food Applications

  • Use as part of a brine on poultry or pork, balance sweet barbecue, sprinkle on fried chicken tenders, season nuts, enliven salad bowls or deepen the flavors in a seafood dish.

Signature In-House Blend

  • Golden Fire Salt: Maldon sea salt + Aleppo chile flakes + saffron + ground fennel seed

Try This

  • Belly Rice & Eggs: Pork belly fried rice seasoned with Golden Fire Salt and topped with a fried egg

FEATURED RECIPE

Smithfield Culinary

Rich, satisfying pork belly gets a salty, acidic counterpoint from pickled cucumbers and radishes in this Breakfast Pork Belly Bun.

GET THE RECIPE FOR Breakfast Pork Belly Bun

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]