Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

 

 

 

By Rob Corliss
November 24, 2020

 

Sauces, in all their various forms, are arguably the backbone of menu development. It makes sense to build upon that prominence with trusted, impactful ingredients. Nicknamed the “queen of spices,” cardamom is just that ingredient. It has the ability to enliven sauces with its complex herbal flavor profile and bright fragrance. Cardamom can also temper other elements in a sauce, from savory and sweet to spicy and bitter.

Chefs know that a little green or black cardamom goes a long way to permeate and transform a sauce. Below, we take a macro view of three broad categories in the sauce world—sweet, savory and spicy. We then explore easy to execute flavor building combinations that highlight cardamom while keeping things safely in the familiar.

SWEET SAUCE

“Try This”

  • Baked Apple Supreme: Phyllo-wrapped baked/stuffed apple + powdered sugar dusting + vanilla-cardamom caramel sauce
  • Million Dollar Cheese: Griddled halloumi cheese + cardamom-pomegranate molasses glaze + toasted almond slivers
  • Tropical Shrimp Taco: Charred pineapple- and cardamom-glazed shrimp + creamy pickled vegetable slaw + puffed naan round

SAVORY SAUCE

“Try This”

  • Butternut Curry: Cardamom butternut squash and vegetable coconut curry + basmati rice + hot mango chutney
  • Masala Chicken: Masala whole-roasted chicken + creamed cardamom-tomato sauce + fingerling potatoes
  • Salmon Kebabs: Grilled salmon kebabs + cardamom butter sauce (beurre blanc) + asparagus + quinoa trio pilaf

SPICY SPICED SAUCE

“Try This”

  • Hot Honey Ham & Grits Bowl: Roasted ham steak slices + hot honey-cardamom glaze + pimento cheese grits + flash-fried greens
  • Sunrise Benedict: Toasted English muffins + smoked pork belly + poached eggs + blood orange-cardamom-Aleppo chile hollandaise
  • Mediterranean Beef Short Ribs: Mediterranean braised beef short ribs (red wine/beef broth/onions/cardamom/hot paprika/seasonings) + sweet potato smash

FEATURED RECIPE

Pork Belly Chickpea StewSmithfield Culinary

This Pork Belly over Chickpea Stew & Rice with Coconut-Cardamom Chutney is fragrant and flavor-forward with flavors like ginger, tamarind, cumin and coriander seed. Cardamom adds an unexpected citrusy-earthy note to the chutney, helping bring balance to all of the flavors.

GET THE RECIPE FOR PORK BELLY OVER CHICKPEA STEW & RICE WITH COCONUT-CARDAMOM CHUTNEY

 

About The Author

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Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 20 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and, currently, owning a consulting company, ATE (All Things Epicurean), focused on flavor, menu and restaurant innovation. Based in Nixa, Mo., he has an energizing passion for food and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. [email protected]