Where to satisfy your sweet and savory cravings
These 8 fruit dishes from local chefs are untraditionally delicious
Photo courtesy of Vibes Burger in Concord
Peanut butter and jelly. Pineapple on pizza. Apples on grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s been clear for quite some time now that fruit pairs well with many savory ingredients. But what you may not know is that chefs across New Hampshire are taking this delightful combination up a few tasty notches.
The dish: Concord’s Own Burger
Where to find it: VIBES Gourmet Burgers
25 South Main Street, Concord
For the Concord’s Own Burger, VIBES tops its traditional six-ounce patty with applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar, sliced apple, lettuce, and a drizzle of New Hampshire maple syrup. “Besides adding a nice crunch and texture…the touch of tartness from our local apples really complements the salty, juicy flavors from the bacon and the sharpness of our Vermont cheddar,” said chef Dan Forcier. For the real hardcore eaters, try The Unusual, topped with sliced apple, cheddar, applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, pickled jalapenos, and whipped creamy peanut butter.
The dish: Plantain-Encrusted Cod
Where to find it: The Blue Mermaid
409 The Hill, Portsmouth
Sweet, citrusy fruits like mango always pair well with seafood, but at The Blue Mermaid, its Caribbean-inspired cuisine takes this combination to a whole new level. Case in point: this dish features fresh cod encrusted in plantains that is then topped with a mango vinaigrette and served with grilled banana and sweet potato hash.
The dish: Newton’s Revenge Pizza
Where to find it: 900 Degrees Wood-Fired Pizzeria
50 Dow St., Manchester; Brickyard Square, 24 Calef Highway, Epping
Pineapples aren’t the only fruit that can pair well with pizza. Enter the Newton’s Revenge, which is topped with red pepper pesto, mozzarella, goat cheese, caramelized onions, roasted chicken, and figs. This innovative pie is then finished with basil and a balsamic reduction drizzle. Sweet, chewy figs paired with salty pesto and goat cheese? Yes, please.
The dish: Orchard Omelette
Where to find it: Clement Room Grille, at the Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery
135 Main St., North Woodstock
Apple and cheddar omelettes are nothing new here in New England, but at Clement Room Grille, the restaurant put their own twist on this classic breakfast. The Orchard Omelette is filled with fire-roasted Fuji apples, walnuts, fresh basil, and New England Brie cheese — making for a decadently filling breakfast dish.
The dish: Grilled Chicken Feta Wrap
Where to find it: Ellacoya Barn and Grille
2667 Lakeshore Road, Gilford
The Grilled Chicken Feta Wrap at Ellacoya might on the surface sound straightforward, as it’s filled with grilled chicken, feta cheese, garlic mayo, and lettuce – but with the added apple and pear chutney, this wrap takes on a whole new kind of flavor. Sweet apple and pear mixed with salty feta and grilled chicken will be a worthwhile gift to all of your taste buds.
The dish: Pan-Seared Scallop and Strawberry Salad
Where to find it: Black Forest Café and Bakery
212 Route 101, Amherst
Sweet strawberries, sliced almonds, asparagus, mixed greens, barley brown rice salad, and scallops – all finished with a citrusy orange-basil vinaigrette. This is one sweet and savory combination that might sound a little out there, but is definitely worth trying. “The sweetness of the berries contrasts with the slightly salty, savory tones of the scallops,” said owner Martha Walters. “Also, the acid of the citrus [vinaigrette] balances the sweet of the strawberries – so it is a dish of contrasting elements that blend really well together.”
The dish: Confit Pork Belly Tacos
Where to find it:Vida Cantina
2456 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth
It’s no surprise that fruit (think mango) salsas go very well on top of fish tacos. But at Vida Cantina, they prove a little fruit goes a long way on confit pork belly tacos, too. This dish is topped with cotija cheese and a mango-habanero salsa for a spicy, sweet, and savory combination – all wrapped up in a tortilla.
The dish: Maine Blackberry BBQ Ribs
Where to find it: Shovel Handle Pub at The Whitney Inn
at Jackson Mountainside Resort
357 Black Mountain Road, Jackson
You don’t actually need ski weather to enjoy a little après ski – especially when ribs are involved. These braised, St. Louis-style pork ribs are smothered with a mouth-watering blackberry barbecue sauce, and served with sweet potato fries and a seasonal vegetable for a full-on meal. You even get your choice of a half or full rack – but since the full is only $5 more, is there really a choice to be made here?
Michelle Lahey is a food writer who was born and raised in New Hampshire. She also blogs about food at www.ahoppymedium.blogspot.com.