Trending Now: Flavor Pairing with Whole Grains

By : | 0 Comments | On : May 27, 2013 | Category : Trending Now

The past few years have seen an explosion in the usage and acceptance of whole

Whole Grain Penne  Morels Leeks dgrains on the menu, in everything from pizza crusts to breads to pastas. According to Mintel Menu Insights, whole grains in casual dining restaurants rose by 105.8 percent, in fast-casual restaurants by 68.4 percent and in fine/upscale/gourmet operations by 42.3 percent in the years 2008 through 2012. From a consumer perspective, a strong majority are now not just saying they want more whole grains, they’re backing it up with behavior:

 78% of American consumers either began or continued to eat more whole grains in 2012 (IFIC Food & Health Survey, 2013)

71% of consumers regularly or occasionally purchase whole grains (Nielsen Global Survey, Q3 2011)

As the Whole Grains Council puts it, “In the past, some consumers said they seek out whole grains ’despite‘ the taste. Now, increasingly, consumers are saying that they enjoy the nuttier, fuller taste of whole grains. They seek out whole grains BECAUSE of the taste.”

Part of that success is due to the steady improvement in the quality of whole grain products on the market, including the introduction of Barilla Whole Grain. As a blend of whole wheat and semolina, Barilla’s product has a much milder flavor, and a texture and color that’s much more like a traditional pasta than 100% whole wheat varieties.

Perhaps more important is how whole grains are combined with other ingredients on the plate. Whole grain pastas in general can bring slightly bitter, nutty and grainy flavor notes from the wheat bran. For best results, look to sauces and ingredients that complement or mask the whole grain flavor. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you build flavor for success:

 Don’t

•Merely offer whole grain as a substitute without guidance – consumers won’t always choose a well-paired sauce

•Serve with acidic sauces, like some purely tomato-based sauces, lemon cream or agro-dolce

•Pair with delicate sauces such as light dairy sauces as they won’t balance whole grain flavors and can’t match the intensity

Do

Complement with Recommended ingredients:

•Assertive vegetables like kale, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli rabe, asparagus, brussels sprouts

•Mushrooms of all types, especially earthy wild and exotic types like morels, porcini or chanterelle

•Aged, cow’s-milk cheeses of Northern Italy, like Parmigiano-Reggiano

•Heat from chilies or crushed red pepper flakes (peperoncino)

•The natural sweetness of winter squashes, carrots and other root vegetables

 Recommended with Reservations:

•Nuts like pistachios, walnuts or almonds in pestos – make sure to keep your pesto moist with olive oil or cream

•Seafood’s natural sweet-savory flavors – choose seafood with bolder flavors

Techniques:

•Roast vegetables and proteins to caramelize and bring out their sweetness

•Accent vegetable-heavy dishes with a touch of pancetta or bacon for smokiness

•Use colorful and thicker sauces that will mask the slightly darker color

•Do not overcook pasta, as whole grains as a rule do not hold as well

Where We’re Seeing It:

 Felidia, NYC: Whole-wheat orecchiette with broccoli rabe and cetara anchovies

Ram Restaurant & Brewery: “Kalbi Chicken Pasta” – Whole wheat pasta, with napa cabbage, anaheim and red pepper, matchstick carrot, broccoli, red onion and kalbi peanut sauce. With sliced kalbi-basted chicken breast, cilantro and fresh basil.

Noodles & Company: “Whole Grain Tuscan Linguine” – Whole grain linguine, broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper, onion, garlic, white wine, cream and parmesan.

Trending Now: Flavor Pairing with Whole Grains

 The past few years have seen an explosion in the usage and acceptance of whole Whole Grain Penne  Morels Leeks dgrains on the menu, in everything from pizza crusts to breads to pastas. According to Mintel Menu Insights, whole grains in casual dining restaurants rose by 105.8 percent, in fast-casual restaurants by 68.4 percent and in fine/upscale/gourmet operations by 42.3 percent in the years 2008 through 2012. From a consumer perspective, a strong majority are now not just saying they want more whole grains, they’re backing it up with behavior:

 78% of American consumers either began or continued to eat more whole grains in 2012 (IFIC Food & Health Survey, 2013)

71% of consumers regularly or occasionally purchase whole grains (Nielsen Global Survey, Q3 2011)

As the Whole Grains Council puts it, “In the past, some consumers said they seek out whole grains ’despite‘ the taste. Now, increasingly, consumers are saying that they enjoy the nuttier, fuller taste of whole grains. They seek out whole grains BECAUSE of the taste.”

Part of that success is due to the steady improvement in the quality of whole grain products on the market, including the introduction of Barilla Whole Grain. As a blend of whole wheat and semolina, Barilla’s product has a much milder flavor, and a texture and color that’s much more like a traditional pasta than 100% whole wheat varieties.

Perhaps more important is how whole grains are combined with other ingredients on the plate. Whole grain pastas in general can bring slightly bitter, nutty and grainy flavor notes from the wheat bran. For best results, look to sauces and ingredients that complement or mask the whole grain flavor. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you build flavor for success:

 Don’t

•Merely offer whole grain as a substitute without guidance – consumers won’t always choose a well-paired sauce

•Serve with acidic sauces, like some purely tomato-based sauces, lemon cream or agro-dolce

•Pair with delicate sauces such as light dairy sauces as they won’t balance whole grain flavors and can’t match the intensity

Do

Complement with Recommended ingredients:

•Assertive vegetables like kale, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli rabe, asparagus, brussels sprouts

•Mushrooms of all types, especially earthy wild and exotic types like morels, porcini or chanterelle

•Aged, cow’s-milk cheeses of Northern Italy, like Parmigiano-Reggiano

•Heat from chilies or crushed red pepper flakes (peperoncino)

•The natural sweetness of winter squashes, carrots and other root vegetables

 Recommended with Reservations:

•Nuts like pistachios, walnuts or almonds in pestos – make sure to keep your pesto moist with olive oil or cream

•Seafood’s natural sweet-savory flavors – choose seafood with bolder flavors

Techniques:

•Roast vegetables and proteins to caramelize and bring out their sweetness

•Accent vegetable-heavy dishes with a touch of pancetta or bacon for smokiness

•Use colorful and thicker sauces that will mask the slightly darker color

•Do not overcook pasta, as whole grains as a rule do not hold as well

Where We’re Seeing It:

 Felidia, NYC: Whole-wheat orecchiette with broccoli rabe and cetara anchovies

Ram Restaurant & Brewery: “Kalbi Chicken Pasta” – Whole wheat pasta, with napa cabbage, anaheim and red pepper, matchstick carrot, broccoli, red onion and kalbi peanut sauce. With sliced kalbi-basted chicken breast, cilantro and fresh basil.

Noodles & Company: “Whole Grain Tuscan Linguine” – Whole grain linguine, broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper, onion, garlic, white wine, cream and parmesan.

Share This Post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *