Traditional dishes like fruit cobber, breakfast hash and fried chicken sandwiches will always do well on menus. But to mix things up a little bit for the noncommercial audience—where diners may not be used to seeing much in the way of modern food trends, pairing these classic dishes with ancient ingredients and flavors is the perfect way to give the menu an interesting update. Using ancient grains, new flavors or unique ingredients for these dishes and pairing them with sweet and juicy fruits gives operators the opportunity to try something new. Here’s five ways to feature ancient ingredients on the modern menu.
1) On the breakfast menu
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so the saying goes. But to keep diners interested, offering meals outside of the standard bacon, eggs and toast is key. Breakfast hash is one way to do so. It can be customized to diners’ specific needs or preferences, and is easy to update to include unique flavors. Want to give it a shot?
Try serving up Egyptian Breakfast Hash. Start with diced potatoes, and top them with savory Manchego cheese, thyme and parsley, diced peaches, chickpeas and dukkah (an Egyptian condiment made of herbs, hazelnuts and spices that’s grown 117% on menus, according to Datassential). Top it off with peach slices for a pretty presentation and watch consumers dig into this tasty bowl.
2) A shareable appetizer
Flatbread is a familiar format for shareable apps, but often features flavors like tomato, basic and garlic. To mix things up from the usual findings, offer it as a shareable app with unique flavors like sweet fruit and rich, tangy yogurt.
Labneh, which is said to have originated in the ravine between Mount Moriah and Mount Zion in Jerusalem, is known for its distinct, sour, yogurt-like flavor. Mediterranean labneh and ancient spices including baharat, a Middle Eastern spice blend, combined with cherries stewed in red wine and red wine vinegar team up for a winning combination atop flatbread. And because this dish is easily shareable, it’s perfect for lunchtime appetizers or as a snack after work.
3) A craveable comfort-food sandwich
With the popularity of Nashville hot chicken and chicken and waffles, it’s no surprise that cooks everywhere are creating new versions. Sorghum, an ancient grain that first appeared during an archaeological dig near the Egyptian-Sudanese border, can be made into flour, but it can also be made into a syrup, and down south, sorghum syrup and sorghum molasses are commonly used on hot cereals or pancakes. In this application, sorghum molasses is used to create a unique fried chicken sandwich. It’s mixed into buttermilk for chicken’s wet dredge before being dipped in a spiced-flour dredge and fried to golden brown. Top it off with cherry slaw—a flavorful dressing of mayonnaise, sour cream, pineapple juice, vinegar and hot sauce pairs perfectly with sweet cherries.
4) A refreshing and unique soup
Poblanos take their name from their place of origin—Puebla, Mexico. But unlike jalapenos and habanero peppers, they’re not too spicy. For an exciting new way to use them, try serving up Roasted Poblano and Pea Soup with Mango Creme Fraiche.
This brightly flavored yet comforting soup showcases the delicious flavor of poblanos alongside a rich and creamy addition—creme fraiche. Roasting the peppers first gives this soup a smokiness that’s enhanced by spices like cumin, black peppercorn and guajillo pepper for a mountain of flavor in a bowl. To finish the soup, mango puree is blended into creme fraiche along with lime juice and chili powder, and drizzled on top for a creamy, sweet accent.
5) An indulgent dessert
Creme fraiche, believed to have originated in Normandy, is a beloved French delicacy and offers a delectable tart richness. Nowadays, its versatility means it is easily used as a tangy topping and a dessert ingredient alike, such as in this recipe. Here, a combination of creme fraiche, heavy cream, buttermilk and gelatin make up a base of tasty panna cotta, and blackberry puree is blended into whipped cream for a sweet topping. Surrounded by fresh blackberries, this panna cotta is sure to be a hit.
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