There are certain ingredients that remain a constant theme throughout many of the dishes I serve at my restaurants. Some are everyday staples, others are a little harder to get, but either way, I am constantly trying to break the mold with working with them to create new and adventurous dishes. Here are a list of some of my favorite ingredients to work with and some recipes I’ve created with them.
The best thing about bone marrow is that it’s like beefy butter. It’s so rich and smooth in texture, you’ll think you’re eating velvet. After many years of working with it in various dishes, I created my favorite signature dish which you can enjoy at David Burke Kitchen: Ants on a Log.
Beets are one of my favorite ingredients because of their simplicity that creates a refreshing flavor to any dish you’re using them with. But beyond that, it is the color that I really go nuts over. They’re to use as a garnish or in a dish that is in need of a pop of color. I love making beet lemonade, as well as beet Carpaccio to garnish a plate of fried chicken.
Milk is another ingredient I’m constantly working with. I’m often creating new panna cotta recipes or my own varieties of jello with it, but the most adventurous I’ve gotten has been poaching fish with it.
Peanut butter is not just a lunch sandwich staple. I love using it in unexpected ways as the creamy, rich texture provides for a great filling for so many dishes. Because it’s such a high allergen, I’m always very cautious to note the use of peanuts and nuts on my menus, especially with my maple bacon date appetizer I serve. Other fun ways to use peanut butter is with French toast – I like to dip the bread into the eggs and pan fry two slices that are stuffed with peanut butter, bananas.
Mint is one of my all-time favorite herbs, and I’m constantly working it into new vinaigrettes, soups, and sashimi dishes that I’m developing. I also love served it in a traditional spaghetti dish or with sautéed shrimp.
Not only do I enjoy blueberries during the pick of their season, but I like making them last a bit longer with pickled blueberries. Pickling is an ancient culinary technique that has been used for preserving an ingredient. Just recently this has become very popular again in the culinary world, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Pickling enhances the flavor of a fruit or vegetable when they’re at the peak. I love pickling blueberries with a little water and white wine vinegar and serving them over grilled swordfish with mint (another one of my favorites).
I could go on and on about cumin, but I’ll give you one of my favorite unconventional ways to use it to keep it short: barbecue sauce. It’ll add an incredible depth of flavor without letting the sauce lose its integrity as a bold barbecue sauce.