Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Katie Ayoub
March 2, 2020

The sabich is just starting to catch fire here, carrying all of the markings of a global handheld primed for translation onto American menus. A popular street food in Tel Aviv, it’s an Iraqi-Israeli creation that typically sees a pita stuffed with fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, amba, tahini, hummus and Israeli salad (tomato, onion, cucumber and bell pepper). It’s the next Eastern Med handheld poised for success, following the path blazed by the shawarma, döner and falafel pitas.

“The sabich incorporates many delicious spices and flavors already percolating on U.S. menus as the popularity of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine continues to grow,” says Sarah Cannard, foodservice marketing coordinator with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI).

Of course, riffs on an original are what make modern foodservice so dynamic. On behalf of ASMI, Chris Shepherd, executive chef/owner of Houston-based Underbelly Hospitality restaurant group, created the Green Chermoula Alaska Sole Sabich, with beet-pickled egg, Israeli salad, hummus and tahini.

He marinates the fish in chermoula, adding a North African touch, and coats the eggplant in panko for added crispiness. “The wild Alaska sole pairs with the chermoula well, picking up the fresh herbs in the marinade, and the fish’s delicate profile is balanced by the crunch of the fried eggplant,” says Cannard.

“Wild Alaska pollock would also work. Both fish are sustainably harvested and marry nicely with the marinade without overpowering the zing of tahini and hummus.”

About The Author

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Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.