Sponsored by Anchor Food Professionals
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you have to recreate the wheel and put all new items on your menu. While your customers have their favorites, they’ll definitely want lighter fare. You can still give them all the flavor they want paired with fresh summer veggies, tomatoes, wine and more – by making simple ingredient changes that rack up flavor points without piling on calories.
Summer is also the season for big events and catering – from weddings to garden parties. Serving up good looking, great tasting hot and cold dishes comes with the territory. Here’s another chance to change-up your flavors and lighten things up by using the right ingredients. Stability is key for dishes that sit – especially on a buffet table – so make sure you use ingredients that stand the test of time (and heat) and still look delicious.
Paring farm-fresh with lighter ingredients
Having lighter fare on the menu is a must, but you can also serve creamy and delicious dishes when you pair summer flavors with the right support ingredients. For instance, creating a delicious pasta with asparagus and peas in a fresh lemon cream sauce is easier when you use a cream that is already at a reduced consistency. Plus, a cream like Anchor Chef’s Cream has 30% fewer calories and 40% less fat than conventional heavy cream, but all the flavor…so everyone is happy. With this cream, you don’t waste any time reducing, so you can make each dish to order in no time at all – eliminating waste and giving your cooks more time to focus elsewhere.
White wine is always a good idea in the summer, so mix up a light white wine cream sauce to serve over chicken with mushroom risotto for a fresh summer dish with protein. Make sure you use a cream that can stand up to acidic ingredients, because serving all that great flavor will be overshadowed by a dish that splits or curdles.
Put some Speckled Roman in their lives
From Cherokee Purple to Azoychka… and the Speckled Roman (of course), tart, sweet and juicy heirloom tomatoes are a fan favorite. Adding them to summer pastas and sauces provides the rich flavor and vibrant color your customers love. Mixing up recipes to include these beauties is key to keeping your menu fresh, so whether your sauce is broth-based or cream-based, make sure it stands up to the acid. Using a cream that is proven to take the heat and the acid will make sure your dishes look great and taste great, every time.
Not your mom’s asparagus (aka over-cooked mush)
Summer asparagus is a menu-must, and has so much potential. Served whole or julienned, hot or cold…whether marinated and grilled, mixed with a beurre-blanc sauce or served with a decadent-yet-light Dijon cream sauce, asparagus adds crunch and flavor that just tastes like summer. The last thing you want is your asparagus to sit too long in a pan or sauce and start to break down. Not only does it lose flavor and crunch, it loses vitamins. Creating a system in your kitchen that allows you to quickly serve made-to-order dishes insures that your summer veggies don’t get ruined. Using a cream that is already reduced is the key to this process. When you can just mix your ingredients, bring to temp and serve, it allows you to keep everything fresh and tasty…and your customers coming back for more.
Make your summer steaks sizzle with flavor – and lighter sauces
There’s just something about a grilled steak that makes it a summer staple. Not exactly considered light, you can keep it summery by topping with a lighter cream sauce featuring blanched veggies or tomatoes. For instance, instead of using conventional heavy cream for your Au Poivre, try Anchor Chef’s Cream. It has 30% fewer calories and 40% less fat than conventional cream, will stand up to the Cognac much better, and won’t split or curdle if it has to sit for a bit. While you’re at it, add in some chopped summer veggies or seafood along with your shallots to create your own concoction.
Making simple swaps can make a huge difference
Of course, you can keep dishes on the lighter side by using veggies instead of pasta or meat. Zucchini noodles are all the rage, and paired with a white wine cream sauce with fresh seafood like lobster or shrimp just says “hello summer”! How about grilled Portobello mushrooms with that Au Poivre… or Alfredo with eggplant and side of arugula? The possibilities are endless with the right ingredient swaps and pre-packaged, quality ingredients that make your life easier. Be clever about adding some skinny to your recipes with lighter cream, stock and other menu helpers to make it a great summer.