(Family Features) - Good things come in pairs, and flavor is no exception. Professional chefs know the secret to combining sweet, hot, tangy, salty, bitter and sour for crave-worthy dishes, and now everyday cooks are discovering this concept as well. The right combinations can turn basic main dish meals into tasty adventures. With a greater variety of ingredients and influences at our fingertips - in restaurants, grocery stores and on TV cooking shows - experimenting with flavor pairings has never been easier or more exciting.
Crystallized ginger and salted pistachio, maple and wasabi, and toasted mustard and fennel seeds are among the trendiest flavor pairings.
The palate-pleasing combination of salty and sweet goes upscale with crystallized ginger and salted pistachio. While it is an ideal pairing for desserts, the dynamic duo is equally delicious in main dish recipes, such as Ginger-Pistachio Crusted Chicken With Tangerine Sauce.
Watch out when wasabi and maple - the ultimate in sweet heat - team up. Accented by ginger and garlic, Maple Wasabi Glazed Salmon features an exciting twist on teriyaki. This combination is also great for enhancing the flavor of stir-fries, ribs and chicken.
Though their appearance is tiny, when mustard and fennel seeds join forces, the result is a mighty punch of flavor and texture. For a light, delicious main dish salad, try Fennel and Mustard Seed Crusted Shrimp With Apricot Dressing. Toasting the seeds adds depth to their flavor.
For additional recipes and more information on this year's Flavor Forecast, visit www.mccormick.com or call 1-800-MEAL-TIP (1-800-632-5847.)
Toasting spices is fast and easy:
- Place dry skillet over medium heat.
- Once pan is hot, pour in desired amount of seeds.
- Using a spatula, stir seeds in pan until they become fragrant, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.