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Homemade preserved lemons. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Other photos courtesy McCormick.
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January 2010

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Seasonings

Flavor Trends 2010

New Pairings & Recipes That Will Make Your Cuisine Cutting Edge

Page 1: Food Trends

  • Almonds & Ale

  • Bay Leaves & Preserved Lemons

 

CAPSULE REPORT: Looking for palate excitement this year? McCormick, the world’s largest spice company, continues its annual recommendation of cutting-edge flavor combinations in its 2010 Flavor Forecast. Sure to inspire meals to come, these pairings embrace stronger, more assertive flavors and influence food lovers to bring bold, restaurant-style meals into the home kitchen—helping you save money in the new year by eating out less often. After reviewing the introductions to each flavor pairing, you can click through to a delicious recipe that utilizes those flavors. If you love innovative pairings as much as we do, you can still enjoy the wonderful recipes from Flavor Trends 2009, as well. This is Page 1 of a four-page article plus 10 pages of recipes. Click on the black links below to view all 10 flavor pairings.

 

Overview

How does a spice company decide what’s hot? The flavor experts at McCormick team up with leading chefs, food writers and other culinary authorities to identify the top 10 flavor pairings and key trends that are poised to shape the way we eat in the year ahead. This year marks a milestone for the McCormick Flavor Forecast—it’s the 10th anniversary of flavor reports from the spice giant.

Influencing the choices for 2010 are bold, assertive flavors including bitter, warm and earthy notes. Other trends include “In Is The New Out,” bringing the best of restaurant meals home; “Always In Season,” using high-quality canned, pickled, preserved, frozen and dried ingredients year-round; “Meatless On The Menu”; “Ethnic Sizzle”; “New Comfort Cuisine”; and “Cocktail Meets The Kitchen.” See which one of the following you’d like to try first:

 

Pairing 1: Almond & Ale

Ale possesses a mildly sweet, full-bodied, fruity taste, thanks to the top-fermenting brewers’ yeast used to make the beer ferment quickly. (Bottom yeasts are used to ferment other beers, such as lager. See our Beer Glossary.) The types of hops contained in ale, as opposed to other beer styles, also impart a bitter herbal flavor, which balances the sweetness of the malt.

Almonds are actually not a true nut, but rather the seed of a drupe, a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell with a seed inside (other examples include peaches and apricots). Almonds possess a bittersweet flavor that leans toward the sweeter side.

Recipe: The bittersweet character of both ale and almonds makes a congenial, cozy and hearty match. Try them in this recipe for an Almond-Ale Spritzer, a moderately sweet beer-based cocktail. And come up with your own variations: ale-steamed shrimp with toasted almonds, for example.

 

Pairing 2: Bay Leaves & Preserved Lemons

Bay leaves are the aromatic leaves of the bay laurel plant. Fresh or dried bay leaves are often used to flavor soups, stews and braises. They are quite pungent, so one leaf is often enough to flavor an entire pot. When dried, the fragrance is herbal and slightly floral, with the flavor being sharp and somewhat bitter.

Preserved lemon is a condiment made of lemons that have been pickled in a brine of water, lemon juice, salt and sometimes, spices. (They’re actually pickled lemons.) The lemons are then allowed to ferment at room temperature for weeks, or even months. The end result is a concentrated and earthy lemon flavor without too much tartness. They are popular in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisines. Preserved lemon can be purchased in specialty food stores or on Amazon.com; or you can make your own.

Recipe: Bay leaves and preserved lemons combine into an aromatic mix of bitter, salty-tart and bright, slowly coaxed flavors. Try them in this sophisticated recipe for Lemon-Bay Tortellini with Spinach & Wild Mushrooms. It also includes a recipe to make your own preserved lemons.

And if you’ve never made a Moroccan tagine, this is the year to try one!

 

Continue To Page 2: Caraway & Bitter Greens And More

Go To The Article Index Above

 

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