You’ve probably seen them popping up on your various social media feeds: year-end lists ranking the best new restaurants of 2016; columns arguing that bacon was never a trend in the first place; entire letters detailing why blistered shishito peppers need to chill. Some we agree with more than others (shishitos DO need to chill).
Here, we’ve got a run down of the top four food trends we’re stoked to watch this year, and some great opportunities to catch them on upcoming Plated menus in early 2017:
Trade those steaks in for vegetables! This one’s been spotted by Food Business News which reports that more meat eaters are increasingly exploring plant-based options, not necessarily to replace their beloved meat, but to eat it less often. Think veggie ribs or jerky—even hearty cauliflower steaks.
As for Plated’s new menus, we’re taking a classic meat-n-potatoes casserole, Shepherd’s Pie, and swapping in lentils to mimic that saucy ground beef. A splash of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (yes, that’s a thing!—keeps things tasting super meaty, and whole shiitake mushroom plus a little shiitake powder really bumps up the umami.
Just as cocktails and other alcoholic beverages can be enhanced with a squeeze of orange or lime, we catch ourselves looking for any excuse to squeeze a little citrus over everything from simple pan-seared chicken breast to buttery pasta dishes or even cheesy rice.
We’re completely obsessed with a simple technique for deepening those bright flavors: cooking the cut-sides of citrus fruits in a pan (or in the oven) until slightly caramelized, just for a couple minutes. For our crispy fish tacos with guacamole, charred lime wedges add concentrated sweetness and complex acidity when squeezed over the final plate. Charred citrus brings a whole new way to add zing, with the added bonus of visually stunning plates.
Heirloom grains like spelt, millet, barley, Khorasan wheat, bulgur and more have been making a slow and steady comeback. We’re specifically crushing on farro, also known as emmer, for its impressive ability to absorb a ton of flavor while still staying perfectly chewy, like perfectly al dente pasta. Fun food fact: This nutty grain was cultivated in Egypt as far back as 20,000 years.
Keep an eye out for Plated’s veggie-forward dish of tender roasted cauliflower florets, tossed in a honey-laced vinaigrette with raisins and capers. A steamy pile of farro, mixed with cherry tomato sauce and just-wilted spinach, creates an awesome textural contrast to the browned cauliflower and grated Parmesan cheese. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you’re going to love this dish.
So sorry, but no homemade ketchup can satisfy like Heinz does—trust us, we’ve sampled them all! After conquering our own versions of Indian raita and Spanish romesco, we’re more excited than ever to keep recreating “international” condiments at home, adjusting the seasoning or the sugar content to our own preferences.
After dining at a popular restaurant in NYC, we were inspired to whip up our own rémoulade in the Plated Test Kitchen, a classic French sauce based in creamy mayonnaise with various briny additions. Because of the French influence in the American South—colonists formerly known as Acadians eventually became the Cajuns—we’re pairing our own caper, lemon, and pickle-studded rémoulade with Cajun-spiced salmon, served with a side of the a southern classic: sautéed collard greens.
Ready to roll up your sleeves and dig into the first recipes of 2017? Have no fear, it’s gonna be an adventurous new year!
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