Meet Baharat, a staple of Eastern Mediterranean cooking and one of the top emerging flavors in the year ahead, according to a new report from McCormick & Co.
“It’s a fragrant, Eastern Mediterranean blend of spices such as cumin, cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg and more,” said Kevan Vetter, McCormick executive chef. “Sprinkle over warm, seasonal soups, stir into tomato-based sauces, or add to your favorite chicken dish.”
In its latest Flavor Forecast, McCormick & Co. unveiled hot trends and ingredients based on insights from a global team of chefs, culinary professionals, trend trackers and food technologists. McCormick has released the annual list since 2000.
“This year, the Flavor Forecast identifies cutting-edge flavors that help chefs, tastemakers and home cooks refresh their menus,” Mr. Vetter said.
Read on for five trends featured in McCormick’s 2017 Flavor Forecast.
Global flavors rise and shine
Wake up to a world of flavor. Breakfast dishes with a dash of global inspiration are gaining favor among a generation of “flavor adventurists not content with the same boring bowl,” according to McCormick. Examples include a warm, sweet congee, a sorghum grain bowl or a Middle Eastern-inspired breakfast hash, featuring chickpeas, ground lamb and roasted vegetables seasoned with coriander, cumin and fennel and topped with skhug, a complex Middle Eastern hot sauce.
Hot off the plancha
With origins in Spain, France’s Basque region and Mexico, the plancha is a thick, flat slab of cast iron known to impart a sizzling, smoky sear and flavor crust. This style of grilling may be used with meats, enhanced with a vibrant Spanish green sauce with cumin, cilantro, parsley and green chilies, or a zesty, Mediterranean herb rub starring France’s espelette pepper, described as smoky and sweet with a mild heat.
Yolk it up
Poached, fried or cured, egg yolks are popping up on lunch and dinner menus, paired with a broad range of spices, herbs and sauces. In a Mediterranean Vegetable Shakshuka dish, sunny-side-up egg yolks are simmered in a tomato and vegetable sauce and flavored with a spice blend of smoked paprika, cumin, pepper, cayenne, turmeric and caraway.
Chefs are combining Eastern Mediterranean ingredients and traditional Western European cuisine to create such dishes as Persian Minestrone, marrying classic Italian minestrone with Persian Ash-e reshteh, a thick, hearty soup of beans, herbs, turmeric and flat noodles. Other possible fusions include Eastern Mediterranean cured swordfish with German Spaetzle and Turkish Manti with Italian Bolognese.
The new sweet heat
Peppercorns are having a moment on menus, appearing alongside such rising sweet ingredients as dates and dragon fruit. In a unique take on a Hawaiian poke salad, strawberry and diced dragon fruit is drizzled with a balsamic-pepper syrup.