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Restaurants add a little sizzle with grilled and roasted preps

From Mediterranean plancha cooking to bona fide pitmaster grilling, the art of roasting food over a heat source is a celebrated culinary tradition. Here are four ways to bring grilled and roasted preps to your operation. 

Veggies on the grill

According to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian Trend Report, 41% of consumers say that compared to last year, they’re eating more vegetables. Catering to this growing interest in veggies, chef and author Robin Asbell frequently teaches classes on vegetarian-friendly grilling, and she finds that cooks aren’t aware they need to alter their techniques when grilling a cauliflower steak instead of a porterhouse. “It’s important to shift your thinking to include the step of pre-cooking, whether you blanch or boil,” she says. “Then you can finish on the grill, adding grill marks and imparting a smoky flavor and some char.” 

Trending: Plancha

The Spanish word “plancha” translates to “plate” in English. Similar in shape and function to a restaurant flattop, in the culinary sphere, plancha refers to both a piece of equipment and a cooking technique that’s used across Spain and the Mediterranean. Recently, plancha grills have been turning up as a centerpiece in many restaurant concepts, from fast-casual eateries to temples of gastronomy headed by chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Paul Bocuse.

Meats, vegetables and even fruits cook very nicely on a plancha grill. But Janet Mendel, an American-born journalist and author of My Kitchen in Spain, insists that the secret to plancha cooking is really in the sauces. Operators who’ve adopted plancha dishes and concepts are in luck: A trend report from Technomic reveals that 42% of consumers want more sauces featuring a combination of flavors, something that plancha cooking lends itself to readily. 

Smoked condiments

Sometimes it’s as much about the “fixings” as it is about the main event. Experiment with grilling or roasting ingredients for house-made sauces and toppings to add the perfect hint of smolder to your dish. Here are some ideas: 

  • Grill ingredients for pizza sauce.
  • Grill fruits to top proteins, grains or greens—heck, grill greens themselves (Romaine and kale are current popular options).
  • Grill cheeses like brie, halloumi and feta.
  • Roast nuts and seeds.
  • Roast garlic or peppers before blending into all kinds of sauces.

Classic comforts 

Interest in barbecue dishes has increased over the past few years, according to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report. Due to the rich culinary history of barbecue in America, there are many different regional sauce varieties: 

  • Eastern North Carolina Vinegar Sauce—spicy and acidic, uses no tomato 
  • South Carolina-Style Mustard Sauce—mustard-based and zingy
  • Kansas City-Style Sauce—thick, sweet and tangy
  • Alabama White Sauce—made with mayonnaise, vinegar and pepper

However, with all these barbecue sauce options, keep in mind that Technomic’s consumer trend report also shows that sweet and tangy barbecue sauce is the No. 1 fastest-growing barbecue sauce flavor on menus.

T. Marzetti™ Foodservice offers operators a delicious Sweet & Bold Barbecue Sauce from their new Bold Blends™ sauce brand. Barbecue sauce is increasingly popular, and goes well on concepts from grilled vegetables to plancha. (Plus, it’s already a smoked condiment!) High-quality flavor doesn’t have to come at a high price, Sweet & Bold Barbecue Sauce favors your bottom line. Click here to get a free sample.

This post is sponsored by T. Marzetti® Foodservice

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