The growth of the gourmet pizza market is seeing pizzamakers experimenting with new flavour and texture combinations, blending cheese types to create distinctive signature toppings.
Autumn is here once again, and it’s a time of year that Anchor Food Professionals Executive Chef Mark Normoyle describes as an exciting time for foodservice menus.
“Seasonal menu rotation is a great idea, because it enables you to take advantage of the best of our local in-season produce,” Mark points out. “Australia is blessed with several different climatic zones which enables us to grow a broad range of produce, and the great thing about in-season produce is that not only is it at the peak of freshness, it’s also at its cheapest because supply is plentiful.”
Mark says autumn is a terrific time for mushrooms – “as the weather cools down, we’re seeing beautiful pine mushrooms and field mushrooms, both of which are great choices for pizza, pasta and Mediterranean cuisine generally. Mushrooms are terrific for pasta sauce, in soups and risottos, and even as an ingredient in arancini.”
He adds that as temperatures continue to drop as we head towards winter, it’s the ideal time of year to start adding braised meats with lighter sauces – such as white wine bases – and salad garnishes as opposed to heavier starchy vegetables. “These are great cost-effective choices which will really resonate with customers on the menu,” Mark explains.
Many of the Mediterranean menu staples are at their peak in autumn, including brussels sprouts, broccoli, capsicums and zucchini. Mark recommends all these as perfect choices to add flavour and texture complexity to your dishes and of course they all work equally well as pizza toppings and in pasta dishes.
“At the end of autumn we’ll have those beautiful truffles coming into season,” he adds, “and they’re the perfect choice to lightly shave onto pizza and pasta.”
Slow roasting is also popular at this time of year, which makes cheaper meat cuts such as pork belly and lamb shoulder ideal choices. “Lamb shoulder that’s been slow-roasted overnight makes a great pizza topping, or you can grill it and serve it with ricotta in a warm salad,” Mark suggests. “Pork belly is another terrific choice, but be sure to salt and season it before slow cooking overnight. Again, it’s a great choice for pizza and also makes a fabulous entrée.”
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