Condiments Add Signature Flair
Distinctive condiments—whether house-made or purchased—can be used to change the flavor and value perception of menu standards like burgers and grilled steaks, or they can become the basis for a whole new house specialty.
Free toppings or condiment bars add customer excitement and a reason for patrons to come back again and again to sample new combinations. That’s the beauty part of condiments: their infinite versatility. The word refers to anything that is used to season food, from a simple marinade to an elaborate sauce.
From aioli (a Provençal garlic mayonnaise) to wasabi (a pungent horseradish-like condiment from Japan), world condiments are hitting the mainstream:
Harissa – potent North African blend of chiles, garlic, and spices like cumin
Romesco – Spanish staple made from ground almonds, chiles, garlic, roasted tomatoes and olive oil
Salsa Verde – Rustic Italian blend including parsley, vinegar, capers, garlic, onion, anchovies and olive oil
Sambal – Southeast Asian condiment, usually splashed with shallots, garlic, citrus, chile and tomato
Sriracha – Thai hot sauce, available bottled in a number of different formulations
Tapenade – Provençal paste of puréed or finely chopped olives, capers, and olive oil
Infused Oils and Vinegars
The search for lighter ways to flavor foods has led to increasing interest in oils and vinegars that have been steeped with herbs and spices, chiles, garlic, berries, aromatics like capers, and other ingredients. Drizzled over and around finished dishes, these add color and aroma (especially when sprinkled on something hot off the stove). Flavorful oils like pistachio, sesame, and walnut oil are also a great source of menu appeal.
Pedigreed Pepper, Salt, and Butter
Sometimes the simplest condiments are the most appealing, especially with the rising interest in artisan-made and flavored butters, sea salt, and specialty peppercorns. A bit of red Hawaiian sea salt sprinkled over cooked fish or a salad adds a distinctive burst of flavor. A high-quality butter serves as the ultimate vehicle for flavor and richness.
• Banh xeo are Vietnamese-style crepes, made with a delicate rice flour batter seasoned with turmeric and coconut milk, pan-fried to create a savory pancake filled with roasted pork, shrimp, scallions, and bean sprouts, and presented with lettuce leaves for wrapping. There are also sheaves of fresh mint and cilantro, and nuoc mam fish sauce blended with lime, garlic, and chiles for dipping
Source: UniPro Foodservice Net News, 11-3-2014