Flavor Trends For 2009
Page 4: Smoked Paprika/Agave Nectar, Tarragon/Beetroot, Toasted Sesame/Root Beer
Page 4 of a four-page article on flavor trends: McCormick’s spice pairings for 2009. Recipes for each flavor pairing are at the end of each summary. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.
Pairing 8: Smoked Paprika & Agave Nectar
Paprika is made from dried red bell peppers. Smoking the pepper imparts additional flavor. Paprika is most popularly used as a dry seasoning for meats or root vegetables; in soups, sauces and marinades; or to provide a beautiful color and flavor, for example, in mayonnaise and dips.
Agave (pronounced uh-GAH-vay) is a species of succulent plant that grows chiefly in Mexico and surrounding areas. The sap or juice of the leaves is about 90% fructose. Unlike the crystalline form of fructose, which is refined primarily from corn, agave syrup is fructose in its natural, unprocessed form. Agave is sweeter than honey, a bit less viscous and lower on the glycemic scale than both honey and maple syrup. In fact, many diabetics can use it as a sweetener. Agave nectar can be purchased in any health food store in squeeze bottles.
Try this delicious sweet-and-savory combination in a recipe for Smoked Paprika Shrimp With Poblano Polenta & Red Pepper-Agave Sauce. And for a perfect pairing, make yourself a Smoky Margarita, which calls for tequila—another product made from the agave plant.
Pairing 9: Tarragon & Beetroot
This colorful pair creates a sensory feast that will appeal to any foodie.
Tarragon has 15,542 ORAC units of disease-fighting antioxidants per 100 grams. Though it’s doubtful you’d ever consume 100 grams (about 3 ounces) at once, this is still a wonderfully versatile leafy herb, and is one of the four fines herbes of French cooking (the others are parsley, chives and chervil).
Beetroot is another term for the deliciously sweet root vegetable known as beets. The bright red-purple color of this veggie (there are also specialty beets in orange, white, pink, red and white stripes, and other lovely variations) allows for some tantalizing-looking dishes. Impress dinner guests with this stunning Goat Cheese Beet “Ravioli” With Tarragon-Orange Sauce.
Pairing 10: Toasted Sesame & Root Beer
Rediscover the iconic soda as a versatile cooking ingredient, especially when paired with the bold nuttiness of toasted sesame seed.
Real root beer is made from non-specific roots and barks (often sassafras and/or sarsaparilla, plus herbs like wild cherry, wintergreen and ginger). The cans you’ll find on most grocery store shelves and in soda machines, however, are usually just carbonated water with high-fructose corn syrup, caramel color and trace amounts of natural and artificial flavors. When using root beer as a cooking ingredient, your recipe will be that much more delicious when you use an all-natural soda such as Boylan’s, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Try this warm, wintry recipe for Sesame Root Beer Braised Short Ribs & Sweet Potatoes.
For more information about spices, visit McCormick.com.
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