When preparing for a supper club dinner party there are two key tricks you can use to add flavor to your dishes.
Add a little fat
Add some salt
Adding a little fat is one great way to add flavor. The French are better than good at adding flavor. That is why there is so much butter in French foods. There is a great recipe for what I call Pommes Maccarre that uses the triple crown of a ‘little’ fat: butter, cream and olive oil.
In a previous life I was head of Marketing for Kraft Food Ingredients. Entenmann’s in the 1990’s was a sister company that had developed a fat replacer called MX. I was charged with marketing MX fat replacer to other food companies. Working on the project with me was as senior scientist that was an expert on fats and oils. As part of the development effort we tasted all kinds of foods that used the MX. With each tasting I asked the elderly scientist what he thought. Repeatedly he said: “Needs a little fat”. The scientist knew that it is true, fat delivers flavor.
Back in the 1990’s when Kraft came out with its line of “Free” no fat products the key fat replacer was a derivative of cellulose that was basically wood fiber. The joke at Kraft was “Save a tree don’t eat free”. It is no coincidence that these products were not a success. They gave the consumer what they wanted “fat free products”, but they didn’t taste very good.
The other key way to boost the flavor impact of a dish is to add salt. Having worked with quite a bit of cheese research and development at Kraft I can tell you that most American consumers equate “cheesiness” with “saltiness”. This is true with cheese as well as many other foods. Throw in that salt is cheap and that is why there is so much salt (sodium) in prepared foods.
Food manufacturers are bad, but restaurants are worse. A chef once told me that at Culinary school they were taught that if they didn’t get one or two complaints a night about salt the chefs wasn’t adding enough salt to their dishes. The salt in a dish intensifies the flavor and a broad consensus of consumers will say they taste better.
Adding a little fat and salt will certainly boost the flavor in your dinner party dishes. Adding salt and fat is great when you are entertaining. In tomorrow’s blog I will talk about some ways to cut fat and salt especially for your everyday dinner and still have it taste good.
If you enjoy this blog and similar other stories/supper club lessons subscribe to get future blogs at www.impromptufridaynights.com/blog and be on the look out for my book Impromptu Friday Nights a Guide to Supper Clubs due out from Morgan James Publishing on January 30, 2018