Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu
May 8, 2020

Tamra Scroggins photo

TAMRA SCROGGINS
Director of Culinary
Daily Grill Restaurant & Bar


Kitchen Collaborative is a recipe-development initiative formed by Summit F&B and Flavor & The Menu with support from a handful of sponsor brands and commodity boards looking to help chefs create, inspire and collaborate during these difficult times. Working with high-volume chefs, this project aims to continue to fuel the flavor innovation our industry will always count on. A group of talented chefs were asked to partner with sponsors to create recipes that showcase the passion and potential of this industry.

CHEF SPOTLIGHT: TAMRA SCROGGINS

When Tamra Scroggins, Director of Culinary for the Southern California-based Daily Grill Restaurant & Bar, considered where to take her recipe development for this project, she gravitated toward the pantry of the Eastern Mediterranean. She also steered her three creations toward a modern American theme, bringing in classic American techniques or ingredients, and making each dish a thoroughly unique flavor experience. Scroggins’ Whipped Potato and Feta Dip with Potato Crackers cleverly fuses Eastern Med with American deli. Her Bush’s Blended Kofta with Cannellini Bean and Tomato Salad highlights the zesty citrus notes of green cardamom and her Deep Fried Pickled Green Mango Spears with Tamari Sesame Dipping Sauce demonstrates a flavorful Eastern Med mash-up with savory Japanese flavors.

Bush’s Blended Kofta with Cannellini Bean and Tomato Salad

Bush’s Blended Kofta with Cannellini Bean and Tomato Salad photoPhotography: Carlos Garcia // Food Styling: Peg Blackley & Bree Williams

This dish showcases the aromatic, bold flavors of the Eastern Med while serving up the familiarity of ground beef blended with the nutritional boost of beans. “Beans add plant-based benefits to the kofta, and also bring the calorie and fat content down a bit,” says Scroggins. Kofta traditionally sees minced ground beef seasoned with spices and shaped into meatballs, cylinders or patties. Scroggins shapes Bush’s Best Blended Burger into cylinders, then seasons them with assertive ingredients: cayenne, sumac, nutmeg, paprika, allspice and green cardamom. “I love the herbal and pines notes in green cardamom and the unexpected flavor it provides,” she says.” She grills them and serves the kofta with a Balela Salad, featuring Bush’s cannellini beans, tomato, green onion, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and salt. A yogurt-tahini sauce and accompanying pita round out the dish.

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Deep Fried Pickled Green Mango Spears with Tamari Sesame Dipping Sauce

Deep Fried Pickled Green Mango Spears with Tamari Sesame Dipping Sauce photoPhotography: Carlos Garcia // Food Styling: Peg Blackley & Bree Williams

Scroggins was inspired by her cousin for this recipe, who loves fried pickles. “When asked to do a mango recipe challenge, I thought, ‘Why not try it?’” She again chose a few ingredients from the Eastern Med pantry, this time fusing them with Japanese flavors. She pickled green mango spears in rice vinegar, tamari and sugar. “Pickled green mangos aren’t quite as sour as a pickle but have a subtle sour punch after pickling,” she says. “Green mango has a crispness to it that takes well to frying without losing that crispiness.” After breading and deep frying the spears, she serves them with Tamari Sesame Dipping Sauce, combining the Eastern Med base of tahini with the Japanese flavor powerhouses of sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, tamari, chile garlic sauce and green onion. “This dish would be a great addition to a bar menu,” says Scroggins.

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Whipped Potato and Feta Dip with Potato Crackers

Whipped Potato and Feta Dip with Potato Crackers photoPhotography: Carlos Garcia // Food Styling: Peg Blackley & Bree Williams

Scroggins serves up her take on skordalia, the Greek garlic, potato and almond dip. She incorporates feta, extra-virgin olive oil, sour cream, mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, thyme and lemon juice and zest, while relying on russet potatoes for the dip’s body. “We always have leftover baked potatoes in the restaurant and making a flavorful dip is a great way to use them,” says Scroggins. “The texture of the dip is smooth and creamy, and the intense flavors of feta and garlic pair well with the potato.” She accompanies the dip with potato crackers made from a dough of mashed potatoes, along with flour, extra-virgin olive oil, baking powder, everything bagel spice and red pepper flakes. Rolled out, cut into shapes and baked, she then brushes the crackers with oil and finishes them with parsley and chile flakes.

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Project Management: Summit F&B
Photography: Carlos Garcia // Food Styling: Peg Blackley & Bree Williams

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