First it was chipotle. Then sriracha. And now it seems one of the most popular flavors to shake up the culinary game is the smoky flavor. All over, we’re seeing the addition of smoky tastes in food and beverages alike.
While smoking may be out of style as a fad for people, smoking for food is the new big thing. More and more restaurants are investing in smokers for cured meats, fish, and even vegetables and cheeses. As every chef works hard to top the last groundbreaking offering, the biggest blast of smoky excitement is coming in the form of garnishes.
Scorched herbs are the newest hipster food fad, and this trend seems to be one that will stick around. This food trend can be pinned to the greater demand for farm-to-table cuisine with fresher, locally cultivated produce and meats being the center of focus. In an effort to keep to the earthy boldness that today’s menus are now brimming with, chefs have turned to slightly scorching herbs as a way to add another element to their creations.
The aroma created from adding a bit of char to a sprig of rosemary for example is astounding. It adds another layer of flavor to the dish that takes it to a whole new echelon. As a bonus, it also looks beautiful and add a natural, woodsy charm to the dish.
Thyme is another one that is becoming a popular scorched garnish. The deep and earthy scent that comes from charring herbs like these evokes warm images in the mind and spirit. It helps connect guests with their food more and gives it more of a flair without adding extra seasonings or calories.
To add scorch to herbs, you can simply toast them in your oven for a good seven minutes to dry them out. If you have a blow torch, this works more quickly to add that extra smoky flavor to your concoctions. Easy does it though because it’s one thing to have a smoldering garnish. It’s quite another to serve one that is completely aflame.
When you dine out next, you’re likely to see this scorching technique applied to many of the traditional dishes you’re used to. A rack of lamb with rosemary is always a top-selling dish. However, when you add that smoky scorched technique to the rosemary, it makes the dish more primal without turning it into a primitive meal. So while smoking cigarettes is decidedly uncool, smoking herbs to a light scorch is where it’s at in the culinary world today.