As summer BBQ’s are in full swing, backyard cooks and restaurants chefs alike are exploring beyond typical condiment toppers. The plain old mustard and ketchup combo can feel repetitive meal after meal, but there are many ways to spice up these summertime staples to make a big flavor impact on your meals.
According to Benjamin Stanley of Food Genius, a tech firm that tracks menu data, “Operators are taking off-the-shelf sauces like ketchup, mayo, ranch dressing and mustard, and adding their own twists in flavor. A little tweaking can go a long way to create differentiation among others who are often serving many of the same items.”
Chef Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, starts his custom condiments by dehydrating a pickle or other fermented ingredient like sauerkraut, crushes it into a powder and then adds salt to create a tangy powder that’s not overpoweringly salty. This process allows him to add a personal, funky touch to each dish and gives diners the chance to add various flavors of salt – from cilantro lime to preserved-lemon – to their dishes.
In the quest for extraordinary flavor in ordinary condiments, many chefs have started tinkering with butter in the same way that molecular gastronomists experiment with natural cultures by treating butter like cheese. Zachary Pellacio, author of Eat with Your Hands, chooses to age butter on maple and cedar slabs, brush it with local whiskey, wrap it in horseradish leaves and then roll it in ash from a wood-burning oven before serving his butter alongside dishes like roasted chicken and butter-poached lobster.
While Pellacio goes all out with his condiments, you can make easy changes to add flavor to your dishes. Try creating your own house classics using a dressing as your base and simply adding one on-hand ingredient. The culinary team at Marzetti has created five simple “+1” recipes that you can make from scratch to help you stretch your ingredients, and in turn, your dollars.
- Shallot Blue Cheese (1 gallon of Marzetti Blue Cheese Dressing + 5 oz of diced Shallots)
- Sriracha Blue Cheese (1 gallon of Marzetti Blue Cheese Dressing + 10 oz Sriracha sauce)
- Steakhouse Blue Cheese (1 gallon Marzetti Blue Cheese Dressing + 12 oz Steak Sauce)
- Roasted Red Pepper Ranch (1 gallon Marzetti Ranch Dressing + 12 oz pureed roasted red peppers)
- BBQ Ranch (1 gallon Marzetti Ranch Dressing + 1 gallon Marzetti Sweet & Bold BBQ Sauce)