Ingredients to Look Out For in 2014

Cauliflower

There are a few things we can’t get enough of here at The Manual. We love a great leather bag and finding the perfect suit. We could never deny the magic of an expertly crafted classic cocktail. And, of course, there is nothing better than sitting down to a really great meal. As we enter into the new year, we’re anticipating trends, not only to beef up our wardrobes, but also to satisfy our tastebuds. Looking back on 2013, it’s safe to say kale was the year’s star ingredient. The year before that, everyone discovered they actually love brussel sprouts as you couldn’t walk into a restaurant without them jumping off the menu. Because we want to know which dishes to look for in 2014, we asked some of the industry’s experts to weigh in about which ingredients they think we’ll see a lot of this year.

In terms of vegetables, it seems cauliflower is going to be the big star of 2014. We hopped around to a few NYC restaurants to see how this ingredient was being used, and the results were beyond delicious. Harlow was ahead of the curve when they added a Spicy Fried Cauliflower dish to the menu in November 2013. Lightly breaded, the dish isn’t too spicy, so the star ingredient can shine. One of our new favorites, Estela, has a delectable cod served with cauliflower, Meyer lemon and walnuts. And we can’t get enough of Devi’s Chinese-Indian style Manchurian Cauliflower with tomato, garlic and green chili.

Though it looks like it’s going to be a big year for cauliflower, it isn’t the only ingredient chefs and restauranteurs are excited about. Executive Chef Bryan Hunt, of Tom Colicchio’s beautiful waterfront American restaurant Riverpark, gave us a great deal of insight on ingredients to look for this year. Check out his predictions below and try to spy them on this year’s menus.

Duck Liver
Duck liver has a rich, clean flavor and less of the mineral flavor you associate with chicken liver. We like to use it to build some of our duck sauces; right now, we’re using it with cocoa nibbs, fennel and winter citrus for our roasted Pekin duck breast.

Bronze Fennel
It seems as though everyone—savory chefs, pastry chefs, farmers and diners alike—love this ingredient. We grow it at Riverpark Farm and have used it in many dishes from bronze fennel pasta to ice cream. We’ve started seeing this ingredient more often on menus in the city because farmers are bringing it to the Greenmarket, making it more accessible for restaurants.

Ras el Hanout
This is a complex Moroccan spice blend we found at Kalustyan’s, an Indian spice market a few blocks from the restaurant. It’s one of those flavors that captures your attention immediately with 30 different spices and a strong, unique aroma. For a chef, it is extremely versatile because it complements strong gamey meats but is delicate enough to go well with fish too.