It’s finally here, the snow is melting and Spring is right around the corner. And with the weather finally starting to warm up, it’s time to kiss those warm winter recipes goodbye and say hello to bright and refreshing flavors. There are many ways to bring that sense of freshness to your dishes. One of the best and most unexpected ways is using fresh fruit. There is an art to using it to pair perfectly with flavors of your dish, but when you master how to use them, the life they bring to any dish is unlike any other. Here are 5 ways to add fresh fruit into your spring cooking.
1. Tangerines Paired With Chicken
This fresh fruit is highly versatile when it comes to pairing with light proteins such as chicken. We have all heard of orange chicken, that beautiful bright citrus flavor that is brought out in chicken. But have you ever heard of tangerines? I personally love tangerines when they are paired with a chicken that is prepared Italian style with basil, oregano, garlic salt and glazed in a light balsamic vinaigrette. And while chicken fully absorbs the balsamic vinaigrette and any sauce, adding tangerines to the plating, brings that perfect bite and citrus into the dish that contrast beautifully with something sharp like balsamic vinaigrette. Tangerines are a fresh fruit that is perfect for bringing some life back into your chicken.
2. Meyer Lemons And Fresh Fish
We all know that perfect combination of fresh fish and lemon. But did you know that there is a way to take that flavor a step further? And while generic lemons will work for any fish dish in offsetting the salty richness, meyer lemons offer a sense of sugar sweetness and tang to your fish dish that is unlike any other. Meyer lemons are known to be slightly sweeter than generic lemons and have a more complex flavor profile. For instance, when most of us lick a generic lemon we simply think, wow, that’s sour. Yet with a meyer lemon, you’ll simply want to keep eating it, and while it does have that sour acidity, there is a sweet aftertaste that tones out at the end. And with this aftertaste, makes for the perfect counterbalance that blends well with the salty aftertaste of a fish. So when you combine them together, you get something that is both, tangy, salty and beautifully sweet at the end. These lemons can be paired with just about anything aside from a rich protein like steak that is already naturally sweeter to begin with. Say hello to Spring the next time you cook by incorporating some meyer lemons into your next dish.
3. Pineapple And Steak
While this combination may seem a little strange, the flavors are well worth the unorthodox methods. Similar to meyer lemons, pineapples have a higher acidity content yet with a higher natural sugar content than that of lemons, bringing out the sweetness of a richer meat such as steak. Steak is a naturally deep and rich meat that can take many forms and flavors. But have you ever had a simple steak without any side dishes or something to counterbalance the richness? Most people will get sick from all that richness without something tangy and counteract the rich complex flavors. Pineapple is a great fresh fruit to use for this as it adds that zing of acidity back to counterbalance the richness and give you a breath of freshness from a rich steak. And because of its acidity content, it melds perfectly with the natural sweetness of the proteins of the steaks. I found that grilled pineapple, with that added smoke and warmth, brings out the rustic warm flavors of the steak even more than raw pineapple. When you’re looking for an unorthodox way to liven up your next steak dinner, try adding some fresh pineapple onto your steak.
4. Pomegranate Seeds And Fresh Greens
Have you ever had a salad and simply put your fork down because it was simply too boring to keep eating? It’s most likely due to the lack of textures and flavors that complement each other. And while fresh salads aren’t rocket science, creating flavors that compliment and work with each other can be slightly confusing. Pomegranate seeds offer a sense of sugar and slight tang of bitterness that keeps greens interesting and lively. In addition, these fruits are great for pairing with chicken to make for a spring fresh meal. Light proteins and greens are this fruit’s best friend in cooking and are a great way to add not only some extra flavor depth, but texture to your next dish. And while fresh pomegranates with their seeds intact is the easiest way to get the best and fresh results, pomegranate seeds that are store bought and already removed from their outer casing will also work. Give your next dish a pop of color with some pomegranate seeds.
5. Figs And Soft Cheeses
When you see a cheese board, have you noticed there is always a little picture of a fig hanging out in the corner? Well, there is a reason for that. Fig’s offer a sense of sweetness and seedy texture that perfectly marries to softer cheeses. The inner parts of figs act almost as a naturally sweet seedy jam that is perfect for spreading on soft cheeses. Figs allow for a deeper rich flavor of sweetness and elegance that is perfect for spreading across various cheeses including, goat cheese, gouda and soft cheddars. This pairing has been around for centuries and is never going out of style. There is also fig jam that is used on various cheese boards that allow for that taste of Europe and freshness when you’re looking to liven up your next cheese board. Figs, especially baked in balsamic, add that sense of beautiful richness, tang and flavor unlike any other. When you’re looking for the perfect duo for your next cheese board, figs are a must try.