I was watching the penultimate episode of Top Chef last night and something one of the cheftestants said, really stuck with me. Over the past few seasons, the final four chefs have been sent home for a refresher prior to the finale which takes place in some exotic, or special location. This year the chefs traveled to Singapore for the first ever international rendition of the final episodes and the challenge of identifying, and using foreign ingredients clearly affected some of the chefs more than the others. But when faced with this problem, Kelly took solace in tasting. As she proclaimed, her cooking style is rooted in balancing flavors, no matter what the ingredients. Which when broken down, is the best advice any cook could take, no matter how well, or how often you find yourself in the kitchen.
And it’s that balance of flavor that you know I strive for. This watermelon, jalapeno, and vodka cocktail along with the spinach filled flounder topped with a watermelon and tomato salsa took this balancing act to the next level. On their own, the drink and the meal each had a wonderful combination of acidity, spiciness, and sweetness. But together, the sum was much more than the parts. The pairing was a home run!
So next time you find yourself following a recipe or freestyling your dinner, taste, taste, taste, and then taste some more. And if something is missing, trust your instincts to find that balance!
Go-to Balancing Act Additions:
Sweetness: Honey, Agave Nectar, Fruit Preserves
Acidity: Citrus, Apple Cider Vinegar, Pickle Juice, Mustard
Spiciness: Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Siracha, Jalapenos
Savory: Miso Paste, Dried Seaweed, Homemade Stocks