During his cooking demonstration at our New England Aquarium seafood dinner, Chef Jason Bond of Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro offered up this bit of wisdom regarding vegetables and other produce:
"If they're growing together, they'll probably go well together!"
We interpret this two different ways...
First off, if the vegetables are growing and ripening in the same season, they tend to go well together. Think of the classic combination of tomato and basil, often planted in the same soil! We also think of classic like ratatouille and vegetable gratin, which meld all the flavors of the season into one delicious dish.
Chef Jason's dish of grilled mahi mahi paired roasted sweet corn with fresh shell beans, an unlikely combination that none-the-less "worked." The caramel flavors of the roasted corn brought out the sweetness in the earthy beans without overpowering the dish - or the mahi mahi!
Secondly, you can think of all the vegetables and flavors from a particular region as going well together. There's a reason why Thai cuisine is Thai and Italian food is distinctly Italian, after all. Everything that grows in a particular region simply taste good when combined together on a plate!
If you're looking for side dishes to pair with your main dish, think about the origins of your main dish. What other ingredients and flavors come from that region? Chances are a side dish with those flavors will compliment your main dish perfectly!
What are some of your favorite combinations of flavors and ingredients this time of year?