Finger Limes may be in your next cocktail and fresh garbanzo beans might be your next appetizer. These trends are just two concepts presented by Melissa’s Produce on “Emerging Produce Trends” at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit. Robert Schueller, Director of Public Relations of Melissa’s Produce, led the discussion on which produce you might find at your next restaurant experience. Here are some of the key produce trends that caught my attention.
This is a fruit that is common in the Philippines and is a combination of the Kumquat and the Sour Mandarin. The peel of the calamondin is sweet and has hints of orange floral. When you take a bite of this citrus, the acidity takes shotgun on the palate, followed by a subtle tickle of orange. This fruit is one of the more uncommon fruits in the United States and has been called the Rodney Dangerfield of citrus, “no respect!”, as many people do not know what to do with this fruit.
What would you possibly do with this extremely tart fruit you may ask? It is great where ever you need a natural tart flavor or high acidity. For example, I would recommend using the Calamondin as a replacement when making a citrus based desert. Perhaps you can imagine Calamondin Meringue Pie. I would also imagine using Calamondin as a replacement in a sweet and sour cocktail mix or using frozen Calamondin halves as Ice Cubes.
Finger limes – This is a very cool fruit that flows pearlessence vesicles of tart lime juice, when cut open. This citrus lime’s exterior looks like a cocktail pickle with skin ranging from green (common) to rusty red (rare). When the fruit is sliced open the caviar like balls explode under your bite. The sacs range from green-white hues to pink. The flavor is a cross between lemon and lime and it has a herbal aroma. Fingers limes are still difficult to find as there are only in their second year of commercial availability in the United States. Although this is a very difficult fruit to find, it is definitely unique and something that you might find at a restaurant near you very soon. Here are a couple applications that I think you will find finger limes:
1) Inside champagne cocktails, with the bubbles floating the lime sacs to the top and back down, just like a lava lamp.
2) On top of oysters
3) Atop sushi or blended inside sushi rolls
4) Garnishment to freshly grilled seafood (instead of squeezed lemon juice)
5) Adding a tart pop to spicy noodle dishes
6) Adding acidity or variation to very rich soups or sauces
Raw Garbanzo Beans (aka Chickpeas)
These nutty tasting beans are wrapped in a thin parchment skin that might remind you of the edamame presentation. When they are fresh, they can be microwaved, sauteed or boiled skin-on to create a nice appetizer. They can be simply prepared or dressed with soy sauce and sea salt, perhaps ponzu? They pop open just like edamame. I think you will start seeing these at restaurants to replace the passé edamame. The fresh garbanzos can be blended into a dip or used in salads. Expect to see garbanzo beans as a small plate dishes.
Baby Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes have until recently been relegated to Holiday recipes. In the past couple years sweet potatoes have gone through a vitalization in the United States after being popularized as sweet potato fries. The French Fry variation of sweet potatoes can be found in pretty much every single restaurant in America from Carl’s Jr. to Todd English Gastropub. One of the trends you might see on restaurant is baby sweet potatoes replacing small potatoes in dishes. Baby sweet potatoes comes in two varieties Baby Jewel and Garnet. They are up to ¼ inch in size, have thinner skin, and require shorter cooking times. Due to their small size, they have greater versatility in preparation from grilled, roasting to deep frying.
I can see baby sweet potatoes being deep fried like home fries and served with eggs. I can also see these grilled “skin on” with olive oil, rosemary, salt/pepper. These can provide a sweeter alternative to Baby Dutch potatoes for savory dish like steak or game meat.
The Padron chile is like the Anaheim with a sweet flavor when cooked. These two inch chilies are two inches long and are generally mild in flavor and heat; although there is the occasional fiercely maverick in the mix. The Padron is the most popular chile in Europe and are grown in the Galicia Region of Spain. In Spain they are served as a tapas, often stuffed with cheese and sauteed in hot oil resulting in blistered skin and oozing hot cheese. I expect that you will see this European version as a high-end replacement to the Jalapeno Popper.
Special Thanks to www.melissasproduce.com for the informative session at the PMA Fresh Event.
Photo and Recipe Credit to: www.sunnyvaleglutton.com, www.MorselsandMusings.com, wwww.fatfreevegankichenblog,www. jencaputo.com
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