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Dec 22, 2004 07:41 PM

Help me savor the vanilla bean...

  • c

Just read an article today about a French chef who likes to use vanilla bean in savory dishes. He picked this up from his mentor in France.

If you read my reply on the GT board about vanilla ice cream, then you'd know that I'm a vanilla fanatic. Although vanilla beans may be more expensive in the US these days, I would really like to try to incorporate them in a savory dish, preferably an entree. Because I'd want the vanilla to stand out, seems like using it w/ chicken breast or whitefish might work, but I have never tasted a savory dish w/ vanilla beans so have no prior schema for this, what flavor combos work, etc. Does anyone have any recipe they can refer me to or any ideas from a dish they've tried at a restaurant?

Thanks for helping me to bring this intriguing concept to life!

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  1. IMHO, vanilla goes especially well with pork. I just googled the words "vanilla pork" (but leave out the quotes) and came up with a number of interesting recipes such as Vanilla and Bourbon Marinated Pork Loin (an Emeril recipe) and Roast Fillet of Pork with Orange, Vanilla and Red Wine Sauce and Vanilla Cider Pork. And a vanilla brine for pork.

    5 Replies
    1. re: PayOrPlay

      I have a recipe I like for what is basically cauliflower baked in a vanilla bechamel.

      1. re: snackish

        And, after my initial post, I came across this in the very interesting brand-new Los Angeles Magazine profile of Ludovic Lefebvre (the new and controversial chef at Bastide): when he first arrived in L.A. (at L'Orangerie), "A proponent of using vanilla in savory dishes--a trademark of Guy Martin--Lefebvre combined it with ahi tuna."

        1. re: PayOrPlay

          Yes, that's the article that prompted my post...wish I could try some of his vanilla-accented food.

        2. re: snackish

          Like a cauliflower gratin? Would be most grateful if you could pass along the recipe. I usually work by instinct anyway and have made gratins and bechamel numerous times, so an ingredient list would be sufficient if you don't have time to spell it all out. Thanks!

          1. re: Carb Lover

            This is originally from Bon Appetit years ago

            3 Tbsp butter
            3 Tbsp flour
            2 cups stock - chicken or veg
            2 egg yolks
            1/2 cup whipping or manufacturing cream
            1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley fresh
            2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
            1 tsp lemon juice pref fresh
            Salt, pep
            1 head cauliflower

            Melt butter add flour, cook 3 mins until nutty smelling. Add stock, whisk til smooth. Increase heat, boil, stirring, until thick, 1 minute.

            Whisk yolks n cream in a bowl. Slowly whisk in stock mix. Return to pan & boil 1 min, stirring constantly. Mix in parsley, vanilla, lemon juice, salt pep.

            Steam cauliflour whole or in pieces. Pour sauce over.

      2. Vanilla goes really well with lobster and shrimp. Lobster with madagascar vanilla sauce is a signature dish at Lucas Carton in Paris, had it a few years ago.

        1. You know that there are different types of vanilla, right?

          1 Reply
          1. re: rudeboy

            Yes, although I've only used beans from Tahiti or Madagascar for baking. I believe that Tahitian beans are more floral. Hmmm...this adds another layer of complexity to my objective.

            If you have any advice on which beans to use w/ which dishes, please offer. Thanks.

          2. An absolute favorite of mine is skin-on chix parts rubbed with vanilla seeds, salt, black pepper and then grilled. Amazing.

            1. There is a new book out all about vanilla. I don't have it yet so I can't comment on it directly. But I have visited the author's website and it is quite good. I think the NY Times did a review of the book this weekend. The author is Patricia Rain and the book is called The Vanilla Chef.