If you want to survive in the foodservice industry you need to stay abreast of what customers want. Food trends have the ability to change overnight and if you can’t keep up with the changing tide you might find yourself losing out to your competitors. Current food trends range from the skyrocketing popularity of plant-based diets to root-to-stem eating and the incorporation of non-traditional superfoods such as chaga mushrooms and tiger nuts into everyday dishes. The popularity of food trucks are on the rise, modernist cooking techniques are being used more often and new and creative ways to present food is becoming a part of daily life in the food industry.
Another trend that is seemingly going from strength to strength is smoking. Smoked food is as delectable as the art of preparing it is antique. One smoking practice, in particular, cold-smoking is continuing to intrigue chefs, restaurant owners and home cooks alike. Cold smoking is the ideal way to add a delicious smoky flavor to foods such as salami, fish, tofu, cheese, garlic and even boiled eggs which can add an interesting dimension to everything from sandwiches to salads and pasta dishes.
If you haven’t tried cold-smoked cheese yet you are missing out on one of the food kingdom’s most incredible delicacies. Cheese is one of those things that make just about every dish taste better. While we know that not all cheeses were created equally, smoked cheese is on its own level. The subtle smoky flavors are unlike anything you have ever tasted and if you still have not started cooking with it (or eating it by the handful) you need to start right away. Cold-smoked cheese can add a whole new dimension to your dishes. A simple sandwich can be transformed by the inclusion of a few slices of smoked cheddar or Gouda while you can create a pizza-masterpiece by topping it with smoked slivers of Brie and mozzarella. Even a humble mac and cheese can end up tasting like a million bucks by substituting your regular cheese with one of the smoked variety.
Another delicacy that is often cold-smoked is salmon and, like with cold-smoked cheese, the results are nothing short of spectacular. Smoked salmon is extremely versatile and, due to its rich, smoky flavor profile, it pairs equally well with fresh fruit and vegetables as it does with heavier spreads and cheeses. Nothing beats a crisps salmon and avo salad on a warm summer’s day while a freshly-baked bagel topped with cream cheese (you might as well smoke that as well) and generous amounts of the beautifully colored smoked fish makes for a meal fit for a king. Smoked salmon can also be enjoyed as is or dipped into a fragrant mixture of soya sauce and horseradish paste.
Other cold-smoked foods
Smoked garlic cloves can be enjoyed whole or added to soups, sauces, and gravies for an interesting to add an interesting dimension while the ever-intriguing smoked boiled egg is best enjoyed with nothing but a sprinkling of salt and pepper (or sliced into your favorite salad). Cold-smoked nuts are becoming increasingly popular and make for the perfect healthy movie snack while also being incorporated into lavish dishes in gourmet restaurants all across America.
There are no set rules to what you can and can’t cold-smoke as long as you follow basic health guidelines, nor are you limited in the ways in which you can serve and enjoy your favorite smoked products. Embrace your creativity and sense of adventure and who knows, you may make the next huge culinary discovery that will take the foodie world by storm.