Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Flavor & The Menu
May 30, 2023

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Versatility is an imperative that not only serves the bottom line, it drives menu innovation. Chefs continually seek ingredients that can make an impact across multiple dishes. New McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites from McCain Foods deliver mega versatility in a craveable bite. Well-suited for boundless customization, these poppable potato bites can take on any number of flavors in shareable appetizers and unconventional menu applications alike, presenting a broad culinary canvas for creating signature dishes.

“McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites have a crispy fried exterior and creamy mashed potato interior, so they hold up well to flavor and textural exploration,” says Chef Mark Slutzky, Director of Culinary at McCain Foods. “They are great for operators, because not only are they delicious, but they are extremely versatile.”

There’s exciting potential to be explored here, pairing the product’s inherently craveable flavor with trend-forward enhancements, plus the added benefit of being easy to execute—they can cook in under three and a half minutes, depending on oven type. Here are five areas of menu opportunity, each brimming with possibility.




McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites can serve as a surprise element in handhelds like this BBQ Brisket McCain Mini Mashers™ Wrap. Chopped, slow-smoked brisket smothered in barbecue sauce is placed on a flour tortilla and layered with shredded pepper Jack cheese and McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites tossed in a ranch seasoning, then rolled burrito-style. “Their small size and shape make them a great inclusion for sandwich builds, providing a burst of potato flavor, as well as the crispy-creamy mashed potato texture,” says Slutzky. “I could also see them being used instead of proteins in a street taco build or even in a falafel.”



Bowl Builds

The Greek McCain Mini Mashers™ Salad Bowl pictured here showcases the McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites as a unique crouton tossed with lemon, oregano, garlic and crumbled feta, then paired with shredded romaine, sliced tender gyro meat, diced tomato and julienned onion. A drizzle of tzatziki and cut up pita triangles finish the dish. But salads aren’t the only way to go for incorporating the potato bites in bowl-based dishes, notes Slutzky. “They could serve as the base of a potato hash bowl with diced corn beef, peppers and onions and topped with a soft, over-easy egg. The crispy exterior of the McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites really helps them to stand up to sauces, dressings and other thick liquid toppings or tosses.”



Interactive Flavors & Textures

Let McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites serve as the hero ingredient in an elevated shareable that features added toppings, textures and sauce/dip elements. In this well-composed McCain Mini Mashers™ Mediterranean Platter, the McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites are tossed with sundried tomato, garlic, capers and Kalamata olives and placed upon a whipped feta base. It demonstrates a world of possibilities, particularly the opportunity to lean into popular global flavors. “One of the best aspects of the McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites is how well they adapt to pretty much any ethnic or regional preparation,” says Slutzky, citing Southeast Asian, Latin American and regional barbecue as just a few applications. “You can use them in place of proteins or any hearty ingredients—or as an additional little pop of flavor and texture.” For example, he suggests using McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites as a topper on a flight of sliders highlighting different barbecue sauce flavors. “They can even be substituted for crispy octopus balls in creating a Takoyaki-style small plate,” says Slutzky.




Applying dry seasonings—and a complementary dip—is an easy way to lift a snack or shareable, building flavor and providing menu differentiation. “I’m a huge fan of combining flavors and textures. I love doing creative mixes like a Chicago Popcorn-style, featuring salty, unctuous cheddar cheese powder and a rich, sweet and creamy caramel sauce,” says Slutzky. “I also love using Thai sweet chile seasoning with Szechuan chile crisp sprinkled on top. Buffalo dry rub and ranch powder is another great combo to deliver flavor bursts. I could go on for ages.” For this flavor-forward Santa Fe McCain Mini Mashers Potato Bites, McCain Mini Mashers™ are dusted with chipotle-barbecue spice and served with a garlic-chipotle aioli.




A coated or glazed application is another easy-to-execute approach for distinctive shareables. For example, toss McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites in a house made soy sauce and then sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds for these simple but sophisticated Korean Sweet Soy Glazed McCain Mini Mashers Potato Bites. “Hot honey or anything with a similarly viscous texture can actually help enhance the crispiness of the Mini Mashers™, while oozing flavor into the bites,” says Slutzky. “Barbecue glazes, a balsamic drizzle or a topping of crumbled blue cheese and bacon bits can deliver steakhouse-inspired sides.”

“My one big takeaway, truly, with McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites is to let them inspire you to enhance your menu, while exploring new flavors and delivering new taste adventures,” says Slutzky.

To learn more about McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites, visit https://mccainusafoodservice.com/innovation.




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