Taking two delicious foods and mixing them together has become a sure-fire recipe for success in the food world. (We’re looking at you, Cronut™.) Now the mashup mania has reached into the produce aisle, with hybrid veggies beginning to appear on many menus. Creating one product that combines the best features of two popular types of vegetable, hybrids can extend the variety and interest in the standard roster of fresh options. They’re also a great way to add variety to today’s more veggie-centric plates.
Most exciting new product
One example is a small green and purple sprout with curly leaves variously being called Kalettes™, BrusselKale, lollipops and flower sprouts. The veggie was named the “most exciting” new product for 2015 by the International Chefs Congress. Tozer Seeds, which created the hybrid, describes it as “a fresh fusion of sweet and nutty.”
Another trending option is Broccoflower®, a broccoli-cauliflower hybrid originally developed in Holland and grown in the United States by Tanimura & Antle. The bright lime-green hybrid tastes similar to cauliflower when raw, but is milder and sweeter when cooked. Chefs are trying it roasted, in salads, or in colorfully distinctive mashes.
Start with apps
If you’re considering adding a hybrid veggie to your menu, consider this advice from Linda Hall, President, Culinary Strategy Network, a culinary and marketing services firm. “When you’re trying a new ingredient, creating appetizers makes for an easier entry point. And matching unusual ingredients with understandable common ingredients helps make them more accessible.” Hall suggests menu ideas like shredded kalettes sautéed with premium bacon or roasted broccoflower with lemon dipping sauce. “Pairing them with one already popular ingredient makes them seem less intimidating, but still intriguing on a menu.”
California chefs Rocky Maselli, executive chef at A16 and Galen Vasquez, chef de cuisine at Sons & Daughters, tell how they’re using kalettes on their menus.
Food blogger Amber Osterhout digs into a “new classic” broccoflower prep idea from the Kilpatrick Family Farm in Middle Granville, New York.