Creative pastry chefs are now raiding the savory pantry and adding vegetables to their sweet creations. They are produce-ing desserts that are turning vegtables into sweet finales- with no hidden tricks. These chefs are going far beyond the standards of carrot cake and zucchini bread, or masking a vegetable as something sweet for kids. These desserts higlight the unique flavors and mild sweetness of the vegatable itself.
In Manhattan, Mario Batali serves an eggplant-chocolate dessert. In Chicago, diners buzz over the chocolate semifreddo at Charlie Trotter’s. On the West Coast retaueant-goers who dine at Berkeley’s Meritage at the Claremont enthuse over chef Josh Thomsen’s panna cotta-like dessert with sugar snap peas and carrot syrup. Unfoutunetly I have not had the pleasure in tasting any artisan desserts like these. However, my taste buds have become quite familiar with a coinciding trend…
Veggie-centric ice cream flavors are right there with the savory vegetable desserts. If you know me I am open minded when it comes to opening my mouth to taste. So when I saw Olive Oil gelato on Mario Batali’s menu at Otto, I knew I had to just taste it. I had seen recipe variations on the Internet, articles that deemed it a hot list dessert item – and I wanted to rave about it too. I have had olive oil or balsamic vinnegar drizzled on my ice cream before- but never have I had a scoop of actual ice cream, or in this case gelato, that was made out of olive oil. And to my surprise it was delicious! It wasn’t very sweet and the touch of salt that was added to the top balanced the whole dish. A heavy serving I must say though- I could not finish the whole thing. But really, it was something else.
I have tackled avocado ice cream and bacon ice cream – and I wasn’t as pleased. My point is, restaurants and ice cream shops are now offering dishes like garlic gelato, shrimp sherbet and rosemary ice cream to cap off your meal. New flavors are entering the ice cream and dessert lexicon and are introducing savory tastes to diners with sweet teeth.
I would love to tackle a vegetable dessert. So if you have any suggestions or recipes feel free to share!