A Middle Eastern breakfast with spicy skhug sauce and dragon fruit inspired Hawaiian poke salad are a sampling of McCormick’s new Flavor Forecast.
Culinarians looks for trends. Current tendencies in flavors, food and presentation may show people what the future holds – like a crystal ball that helps define the palate of tomorrow. Some trends hit the mark square and stay while others strike a popular note and fade quickly away.
Using spices in creative cooking is not a trend. However, which spice will be popular with tomorrow’s consumers is far more difficult to ascertain. McCormick & Company, a global leader in flavor, has created an annual flavor guide highlighting taste trends with staying-power. For nearly two decades, the Flavor Forecast has made some bold predictions, such as foretelling popular flavors like chipotle chilies, coconut water and peri-peri sauce. These long-lasting trends are popular not only in restaurants but transcended into home kitchens as well.
“The Flavor Forecast identifies cutting-edge flavors that help chefs, tastemakers and home cooks refresh their menus,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. Chef Vetter describes a new spice that is currently a trending-taste, “Discover a new all-purpose seasoning – Baharat. It’s a fragrant, Eastern Mediterranean blend of spices such as cumin, cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg and more. Sprinkle over warm, seasonal soups, stir into tomato-based sauces, or add to your favorite chicken dish.”
In addition to Baharat, the Flavor Forecast also selected five other trends to tweak a culinary professional’s curiosity – a chef that may be trying to see into the future.
- Rise & Shine to Global Tastes – Breakfast options with big, global flavors are being sought after by a generation of flavor adventurists not content with the same boring bowl. Try warm, sweet congee or a Middle Eastern-inspired breakfast hash topped with a spicy skhug sauce.
- Taste It: Breakfast Hash with Skhug Sauce - Tender chickpeas, ground lamb or beef and roasted vegetables seasoned with a blend of coriander, cumin and fennel.
- Say It: Skhug [shug], this complex Middle Eastern hot sauce is made with Thai bird eye chilies, cumin, cardamom, coriander, garlic, parsley, cilantro, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Plancha: Flat-Out Grilling – Hailing from Spain, France’s Basque region as well as Mexico, the plancha (a thick, flat slab of cast iron) is growing in popularity around the world for creating a sizzling, smoky sear and flavor crust. Grillers can easily use the plancha with meats, seafood and vegetables, paired with bold sauces, rubs and glazes.
- Taste It: Espelette Pepper-Rubbed Steak a la Plancha - a zesty, Mediterranean-herb rub enhances juicy steak grilled on a sizzling hot plancha.
- Say It: Espelette [es-PE-let] pepper, originating from the Basque region of France, delivers a distinctively smoky, sweet and mildly hot flavor.
- Egg Yolks: The Sunny Side of Flavor – Egg yolks leave breakfast behind. Whether poached, fried or cured, chefs are pairing these indulgent golden gems with a range of spices, herbs and sauces on lunch and dinner menus.
- Taste It: Mediterranean Vegetable Shakshuka - Sunny-side-up egg yolks simmered in a tomato and vegetable sauce make a rustic supper.
- Say It: Shakshuka [shahk-SHOO-kah], flavored with a savory spice blend of smoked paprika, cumin, pepper, cayenne, turmeric and caraway.
- Modern Med – Discover the new cuisine for the 21st century - melding Eastern Mediterranean ingredients with Western European classics.
- Taste It: Persian Minestrone - Persian Ash-e reshteh meets Italian minestrone.
- Say It: Ash-e Reshteh [OSH-e-resh-tay], a thick, hearty soup made with beans, herbs, turmeric and flat noodles.
- Sweet on Pepper – Enter the new sweet heat. With an up-front bite and lingering sensation, peppercorns are finally capturing the spotlight. Their cedar and citrus notes pair perfectly with up-and-coming naturally sweet ingredients like dates and dragon fruit.
- Taste It: Dragon Fruit & Strawberry “Poke” with Pepper Syrup - Fresh strawberry and diced dragon fruit salad atop a dollop of peppered whipped cream and crispy wontons.
- Say It: Poke [po-kay], create this unique take on Hawaiian poke salad with a drizzle of balsamic-pepper syrup.
To view and explore the full Flavor Forecast 2017 report, visit www.FlavorForecast.com.
Photos courtesy of McCormick & Company.