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Controlling Flavor in your Menu with Artisanal Purées

Spicy Shrimp made with Mandarin/Tangerine Perfect Purée Concentrate

How does a chef or mixologist impart flavor to their creations with quality and consistent execution top of mind? Use of fresh ingredients is key. But if a recipe calls for a component that is not in season, the decision to make the item a seasonal offering or keep it on the menu year-round must be made. Using out-of-season ingredients that may not reach peak ripeness will affect the flavor profile of a dish or drink. Plus, the higher ingredient cost of non-seasonal elements will affect pricing of the menu item. So, what’s a restaurateur to do?

Artisanal purées seem to be the answer to this culinary conundrum. Tracy Hayward, the founder of The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, put her Paris culinary arts training to work in developing a line of fruit and spice-based purées and concentrates to keep consistent quality on the menu.

In 1988, The Perfect Purée product line was launched in Napa, California with 8 flavors and today has grown to over 40 purées, concentrates, blends and zests with a vast range of flavors.

Photo: The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley

The Perfect Purée is well suited for foodservice and consumer use.  In sweet and savory recipes, the products are most typically used in marinades, soups, salad dressings, fillings, and as a dipping sauce or glaze. The purées, concentrates and blends are also used for many signature cocktails - with and without alcohol.

Products are available for purchase on the company website in 30 oz. wide-mouth plastic jars for consumer use and via a network of 500 foodservice distributors in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. For high volume foodservice use, 30# pails are available through distribution.

All purées, concentrates, zests and blends must be kept frozen until use (product is packed in dry ice for shipping). Frozen containers are good for up to 24 months from manufacture date and for 7-10 days thawed and refrigerated at 40° F.

There are significant benefits to using The Perfect Purée in foodservice applications:

  • Chefs and mixologists have control over consistent quality (vs. homemade purées) for accurate recipe replication.
  • There are no preservatives or artificial flavors used in The Perfect Purée.
  • The line includes a host of exotic and unique flavors. Where else can you find the flavors of lychee, yuzu, hibiscus or prickly pear in an easy-to-use form?
  • Blends like El Corazon, a fusion of passion fruit, blood orange and pomegranate, reduce the work for food and beverage staff since the flavors are already mixed in the right proportions.
  • Overall ease of use: you get exceptional flavor without undertaking the tedious preparation of ingredients.
  • All products are Kosher certified and 35 products are Non-GMO Project Verified.

We tested four recipes from The Perfect Purée website. The first was Grilled Lemongrass Chicken which utilized Sweet Ginger purée and Tamarind Purée. Peeling and chopping ginger can be a chore so the purée was a breeze to use and packed with flavor. Although you can purchase or make your own tamarind paste, it can be a laborious process. The Perfect Purée Tamarind purée is free of seeds and fibers so no straining of your sauces is required. Yay, purée!

The Tamarind Peanut Sauce had such robust flavor that we couldn’t toss the remainder when the lemongrass chicken was gone. We had used all natural peanut butter that was quite thick so the leftover sauce became a nice spread for toast.

The second recipe we tested was the Spicy Citrus-Glazed Shrimp that used the Mandarin/Tangerine Concentrate. The concentrates are thinner and higher in sugars than the purées. The aroma of the spicy chili paste melding with the sweet Mandarine/Tangerine Concentrate was enough to whet the appetite. We tossed the shrimp and citrus glaze with lo mein noodles and slivered red pepper for added color and crunch. This is a simple recipe that boasts big flavor and can make a newbie chef look like a culinary superstar.

Next up, we went for the Kale, Quinoa, Butternut Squash Bowl with Pomegranate Vinaigrette which called for Pomegranate Concentrate. The sweetness and tartness of the concentrate paired well with the bitter kale greens and sweet roasted butternut squash. Even though we used baby kale, the chopped leaves were still a little tough and the vinaigrette softened it up during marinating. This salad is easy to make and super healthy. The quinoa took on the vinaigrette flavors nicely for a healthy dinner side dish or lunch salad.

Last up was an exotic, decadent dessert: Coconut Rice Pudding. The Coconut Purée contains coconut cream which is superior to canned coconut milk in terms of flavor and texture, which was smooth and silky. The aroma and flavor was reminiscent of a trip to a tropical island. The recipe was easy to make and utterly delicious.

When a chef is in the kitchen and a mixologist is behind they bar, the thing they demand most is control over their flavors. The Perfect Purée does this by providing fruit that was processed at the peak of ripeness and locking in the flavors without adding preservatives or artificial additives. Recipes can be easily reproduced either in a foodservice setting or in the comfort of your home kitchen. Plus, The Perfect Purée has already done the legwork to prep the ingredients for you which saves time and makes having it your kitchen or bar a little more perfect.

An important trend today for restaurateurs and foodies alike is one of transparency in food sourcing. Consumers want to know where their food comes from, the growing methods involved, the true environmental impact and any conservation initiatives used in production. With this in mind, we would like to note that The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley sources crops only from farms that maintain sustainable practices. The company has also taken steps to minimize paper consumption and printing, promote recycling and increase energy efficiency.

The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley offers complimentary samples of their products for foodservice professionals. Contact them at The Perfect Purée Foodservice Samples.
 

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