Enhance Your Meat Dishes with Value-Added Extras
A great cut of meat usually needs nothing more than a bit of seasoning to enhance its robust flavor. However, like the cherry on top of your sundae, some traditional accompaniments and pairings make fine meats even more impressive, tempting and enjoyable.
Beefsteak and potatoes always make a compatible marriage. French bistros all over the world specialize in Steak Frites, which simply means “steak and fries.” This is one dish for which there are no substitutions. Balthazar, a French brasserie in New York’s SoHo district, serves its Steak Frites with either maître d’ butter or Béarnaise sauce.
It was the French who initially developed those amazing mother sauces for beef and other meats, including Béarnaise and Bordelaise, which lend a continental flair and richness. Speaking of sauces, Chimichurri, the garlicky accompaniment to grilled meats served at Brazilian and Argentinian steakhouses, is showing up on more and more menus. Blue cheese and horseradish sauces add a perfect exclamation point to roast beef.
In England, roast beef is often served with Yorkshire pudding, which is similar to a popover, and so easy to prepare from just flour, eggs and milk. The pudding soaks up all of those delicious meat juices. Yorkshire pudding was served at the 2017 Masters Champions dinner in Augusta, Georgia, alongside prime rib, roasted potatoes and vegetables, and gravy. It’s a tradition at the Masters for the previous year’s winner to select the menu. In 2016, England’s Danny Willett was the winner, hence the traditional British fare.
Chutneys originated in India as a method to preserve fall fruit. American- and European-style chutneys are usually made with fruit, vinegar and sugar. The vinegar and sugar act as preservatives. Apples, rhubarb, mango and other tart fruit chutneys are perfect for pork chops, roasts and ham. House-made applesauce and caramelized apples also have great affinity with pork.
The pickling of vegetables is currently all the rage. Pickling has always been a great means of preservation, and the fermentation process in dishes such as Korean kimchi has decided health benefits. Kimchi, usually made with Napa cabbage, is similar to German sauerkraut. It is a wonderful condiment with beef and pork. Pickled fruits are another winner to enhance meats. Try pickled watermelon rinds with pork; pickled figs with any grilled meat; pickled pineapple in stir fries; and pickled lemons in Middle Eastern and Moroccan dishes.
Everyone loves a surprise. Whether expected or not, unusual menu items capture the imagination. Take a bite of the Juicy Lucifer grass-fed beef burger at Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis, and hot molten cheese comes oozing out. A spicy red pepper jelly is served with this burger, or customers may opt for house-made ketchup and mustard.
Bear in mind that value-added accoutrements will lend extra importance to your meat dishes, giving your operation that point of difference to set you apart from the competition.