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Cooking with Coffee

What do you think of when we say cooking with coffee? Read on to see how you can transform savoury dishes with our favourite caffeinated beverage!

Coffee and dessert make a great duo. Whether a timeless tiramisu or a simple coffee and cake— it is clear that the two are a match made in heaven. 

A growing trend

What’s sometimes overlooked (at least in here in the UK) is the use of coffee in savoury dishes. It is frequently used as a spice rub in the Americas, enhancing the flavours of the meats without overpowering them.

The trend has yet to fully catch on across the pond, but some London chefs are aware of the pair’s potential.

Coal Rooms’ head chef Sam Bryant has been using Old Spike Coffee to add layers of complexity to their meats, including in their coffee-infused bacon sandwich.

Head chef Sam Bryant describes the creation in an recent article in The Independent: “We cure our bacon in coffee and treacle.

The coffee adds richness, rather than a bitterness, and creates a dark crust on the fat when roasted with the treacle”.

In the more opulent Bibendum in Chelsea, two-michelin starred chef Claude Bosi prepares Galician fillet of beef inside a dough-sealed dutch oven, placed underneath a mound of Arabica coffee beans. Kang of popular food blog London Eater notes how the beans bring a gentle acidity to the dish, offsetting the neutral flavour of the fillet. 

Up the anti with your veggies

Coffee works well with vegetables too, as it intensifies the natural sweetness and flavour of vegetables. Renowned Californian chef Daniel Patterson proposes a recipe in his cookbook Coi: Stories and Recipes which involves roasting carrots on a bed of whole coffee beans.

He then serves this in a tangy broth of mandarin and carrot juice, raw carrots for added crunch and  roman mint scattered on top, adding the final flavour punch. The coffee showcases the sweetness of the carrot whilst also adding an unexpected smoky dimension.

Coffee when paired with savoury food dishes, can also provide an interesting synergy and balancing of flavours, according to Noisette Bakery’s Sarah Lemanski.

Such pairings can enhance the flavours not only of the coffee but the food as well, making the overall taste experience more enjoyable.

So the possibilities are endless!

So next time you’re having a meal or cooking one yourself, don’t be afraid to experiment with different roasts and brews. But remember, the key is always balance. Get that balance right, and there is no reason why coffee and savoury foods cannot coexist in perfect harmony. 

Written by Thomas Cury

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