What’s the difference between a dish that is pretty good and a dish that makes you never want to stop eating it? In my opinion, the difference is a masterful combination of the 5 basics tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami.
My first experience with all of these flavors on one plate was the fried brussels sprouts at Michael Symon’s Roast in Detroit. These things make brussels sprouts lovers out of people who swear up and down that they’ll never like them. I don’t know all of the ingredients in them, but I can guess that there’s vinegar (sweet, sour), bacon fat (salty & umami), the brussels themselves (bitter) and sriracha (bonus – spicy!). All of these things combine to make a plate of food that is almost literally addictive.
Since my experience with those sprouts, I’ve been putting that method of combining tastes into my home cooking. Here, I’ve made a black bean dip topped with pineapple (sweet & sour), queso fresco (salty & umami) and a drizzle of sriracha (spicy). As an added bonus, I also tried to combine textures – soft dip, crumbly cheese, juicy pineapple, and crunchy plantain chips for dipping.
Disclaimer: This post is part of an ongoing relationship I have with NatureBox for recipe development. Posts like this help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.