the appetizer:

Kate explores Maple Syrup's Dark and Savory Side, including recipes like a Maple, Cranberry, Brie and Rosemary Melt, and Carrot Citrus Slaw with Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette, plus selected romantic recipes in What To Eat This Month.

Kate Heyhoe
Kate's Global Kitchen

by Kate Heyhoe

 

Maple Syrup's Dark and Savory Side

Real maple syrup (not the faux version sold as pancake syrup) is a versatile staple for every kitchen, despite the perceived luxury price. Realistically, it's a bargain: true maple syrup packs such an intense punch that in cooking, just a small amount delivers a wallop of flavor. Plus, it's rich in antioxidants, has fewer calories than sugar, is naturally processed, free of additives, and harvested only in a small section of North America, making maple syrup a somewhat rare and indigenous ingredient, produced right in our own backyard, so to speak.

Maple Syrup

As a sweetener in desserts, maple syrup has no equal. But I use maple syrup mostly as a seasoning. Maple syrup ramps up savory dishes by adding not just a sweet note, but it also encourages other flavors to sing out loud. It harmonizes beautifully with herbs like rosemary and thyme, spices like chile and black pepper, and acids like lime and lemon juices, balsamic and red wine vinegars. As the guide below explains, the darker the syrup, the more robust the flavor; the paler the syrup, the milder the taste.

To better understand why maple syrup has such limited production and how to use it in recipes, read the tips that follow.

Maple Syrup: Tips and Facts

Usage
Flavor and Grading
Production and Nutrients

Maple Syrup

If you live in a snow zone and have kids, try this "recipe" from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers: Make Maple Taffy by pouring reduced hot maple syrup onto clean snow. Once sufficiently hardened, the soft maple candy can be twirled around a wooden stick and enjoyed.

Go beyond breakfast: Maple syrup is a natural glaze and grilling sauce. Halved acorn and other winter squash love to be baked with it. Maple syrup drizzled on vanilla ice cream rivals caramel sauce, especially with a sprinkle of sea salt or cinnamon. Light amber maple syrup stands-in as an instant simple syrup for cocktails and beverages. And who can resist the aroma of maple-sweetened crusty corn bread?

Speaking of savory dishes, salmon and steelhead trout profit from a touch of sweetness. So for an elegant but easy meal, I serve them simply: pan-fried or grilled with nothing more than chipotle chile and sea salt, then plated with a drizzle of maple syrup and a squeeze of lime. Get more ideas from the maple recipes below.

 

Maple Syrup Recipes

...from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers

A Maple Celebration Menu
For an easy Valentine's Day, or other special occasion

Maple Syrup Recipes


What to Eat This Month

Romantic Recipes
Bird of the Month
 

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This page modified February 2011