Hot side or cold? This is a question that chefs often consider, but one to which customers often don't even give a second thought. They simply choose from among what's offered.
Today, of course, offering choice is essential to keeping customers satisfied with their meal experience. That can present chefs with food cost and food waste concerns among other challenges. Just coming up with new, fresh and compatible-with-the entrée side dish ideas can be challenge enough!
With that in mind, preparing side dish ingredients more than one way—even as simply different as in both a hot and cold form—can be a great way to creatively expand upon a menu's offerings.
That's not to say that they shouldn't still represent distinctly different side dish options. But, because the main ingredient is the same, you can take advantage of distributor specials and higher volume purchasing economies to better manage food costs. And, food waste is typically reduced.
This article contains several examples of side dish ingredients used in this way. So...instead of a classic cold potato salad, you might consider the Bistro Potato Salad on p. 56. It combines carmelized onions with fork-tender potatoes, smothered in a creamy dill sauce.
For a complementary hot potato option, the classic scalloped potato side takes a decidedly tipsy-turvy turn when prepared with beer-soaked russets layered with cheese and baked in a rich cream bath (see recipe page 54).
For a new twist on a grain side, look to the Hazelnut Quinoa Salad (right) that combines toothsome quinoa, zesty Italian dressing, a melange of diced mixed vegetables and crunchy hazelnuts for a cool option. The Barley Citrus Saute on p. 57 is a hot grain idea that combines tender barley with earthy sauteed onions and garlic, fresh and dried fruits, tangy citrus zest and sweet orange marmalade binding it into a sweet and savory side. Both of these sides would be a great complement to chicken or fish entrees.