Paint It Black and Sweet with Dark Molasses

Paint It Black and Sweet with Dark Molasses

Food & Drink

Paint It Black and Sweet with Dark Molasses

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By Cari Martens

Dark, bittersweet molasses isn’t just for baked beans anymore. It’s moved beyond pies and gingerbread cookies, too.

Chefs across the country are putting the stuff to use in savory recipes for sauces and braises for meats, marinades for vegetable salads, cures for fish and glazes for poultry.

Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Monica Kass Rogers talked to a number of chefs who love to experiment with molasses. “Molasses not only adds a raw, earthy sweetness to dishes but also complexity, acid and intensity,” said Jordan Kahn, pastry chef at XIV restaurant in Los Angeles.

A chef in Philadelphia uses molasses to deepen the flavor of the rum he uses to cure smoked marlin. Chicago’s Atwood Café offers an apple cider and molasses-braised pulled pork sandwich that ‘oozes sweet, salty, tangy molasses sauce with every bite,’ says Rogers.

Pomegranate molasses has gained new popularity, too. It must be thinned with another liquid before using, and can even be used as a natural meat tenderizer. Chef Todd Fuller uses pomegranate molasses in both the brine and glaze for the grilled pomegranate pork chop he serves at Tangerine in Philadelphia. ‘If used carefully and balanced with another acid—such as apple cider vinegar—the tart, tannic flavor of pomegranate molasses can be a nice surprise in a dish,’ Chef Fuller says.

Molasses…it may flow slowly, but it seems to be quickly gaining popularity in a widening range of new recipes.

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