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The secret is...nutmeg!

Into what dishes do you "sneak" nutmeg?

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    1. French toast, pancakes & waffles
      Ground coffee
      White sauce
      Scones, sticky buns and some whole wheat bread recipes
      Whipped cream

      1. Almost anything with spinach.

        Into egg & cream going into quiche.

        Potato gratins.

        1. Potato leek soup, bechamel

          1. I have cooked unpeeled apple slices in apple juice and wine with nutmeg and pepper. Very good.

            1. Mole
              Hot chocolate

              1. Spinach, along with cumin.
                Mashed potatoes. I thought that was a rule :-)

                It's not my favorite spice, so that about covers it.

                1. Chinese double-boiled soups.

                  1. Creamed Spinach
                    Eggs, esp. Quiche
                    Mac & Cheese

                    1. roasted asparagus. A little olive oil, a little salt, and nutmeg. It's amazing!

                          1. Nothing savory.

                            Nutmeg in spinach and Mac and cheese and the like literally makes me angry since IMO it ruins it.

                            I like it in all kinds of sweet things though

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              Guess its an acquired taste, but in India spices like Nutmeg, Cinnamon, etc., are added mostly to the savoury dishes, especially to make the basic garam masala more exotic or the dish specific. For sweet dishes, Indians use spices like cardamom. Also each individual's personal taste and likings is a big factor. Nothing to be angry about :-)

                              1. re: Chowshok

                                I wouldn't hate on a spice just needs the right application. Cinnamon is already smokey; in savory dishes I enjoy it. Nutmeg in a savory dish/bake seems to interrupt the flavor somehow when I taste it, something about the brighter note that is a distinct part of nutmeg. So I stick with a light hand of nutmeg grate when I do use it and prefer it in dishes/baking we attribute to sweeter flavors.

                                For instance, I've tried nutmeg in spinach and spicy roasted chickpea and I didn't enjoy it. In rice pudding, it elevated the batch.

                                1. re: Chowshok

                                  i use brown spices like cinnamon and cardamom in savory dishes, but i do not like nutmeg. it's not even in my pantry.

                                  agree with c.ham: when it turns up someplace i'm not expecting it, or is too strog (which is almost always), i am totes bummed. ruins the dish for me.

                                  1. re: Chowshok

                                    Just wanted to point out that nutmeg is used in many many Indian desserts. Especially those from Maharashtra. Shreekhand, puran poli, kheer, basundi. It is often used along with other flavorings such as cardamom and saffron. In Ayurveda, nutmeg is known to aid in digestion. The desserts I mention above are all pretty rich and possibly that is why traditional recipes for them include nutmeg.

                                  2. re: C. Hamster

                                    I don't like it in savory dishes either. I've never noticed it in curries which is fine. If I can taste it in something I'm not happy. In particular I've had greek food that was ruined (for me) by nutmeg.

                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      +3 or 4 for not in savory dishes. I am angry when I detect it in tomato/marinara sauce or in any Italian dishes. I am not a fan. But it's fine in desserts.

                                      Oh and Chowshok, I love garam masala on pumpkin and sweet potato pie - yum!

                                    2. I love nutmeg in any dish with ricotta in it, savory or sweet. The two were meant for one another.

                                      1. ANY Cruciferous vegetable. Brussels sprouts especially. Old, old French tradition. People ooh and ahh over some restaurant Brussels sprouts only to discover it is due to a pinch of nutmeg.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                          Very, very interesting. Never heard of this before. Must try.

                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                            Yes! For me it's roasted cauliflower, chopped rather fine. I prefer to do my Brussels sprouts spicy, with red pepper and lemon.

                                            1. re: law_doc89

                                              Good to know, I'm trying to learn to like Brussels sprouts. I think we could be dear friends, I just need to figure out the best way to prepare them to my liking.

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                A chef friend of mine has a recipe for roasted brussel sprouts that has converted many of my friends and family members. It's very easy...

                                                Halve sprouts and toss in olive oil & s&p. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 8-10 mins. tossing in some minced garlic during the last minute of roasting (roast until browned in spots). Make a vinaigrette of sherry vinegar & red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, grade A maple syrup and olive oil. Season w/ s&p. Toss sprouts in vinaigrette. Add chopped bacon, pancetta &/or nuts for added deliciousness. Bon Appetit! ;-)

                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                  Ahh, this recipe includes 2 of my favorite foods pork belly (bacon or pancetta) and vinegar. I am a vinegar freak so I'm sure I'd love this recipe. I have actually been eyeing a Brussels sprouts salad with warm bacon vinaigrette and this sounds quite similar.

                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    I love, love, love brussel sprout salads too. I do a raw kale and brussel sprout salad and the sprouts are sliced very thin and they just add a nice crunch. Of course then you add in all the many salad accoutrements like nuts & bacon. ;-)


                                                2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                  Oh so simple. Chop up some bacon and cook. Slice a bunch of cleaned Brussels sprouts and add to the bacon when the bacon is crisp. Cover and let sweat. Pinch of salt, pepper, nutmeg at 4 to five minutes. Very traditional French dish. Vary ingredients according to your tastes with some vinegar, or pancetta etc. But must have the nutmeg.

                                              2. Anything Italian. My husband's grandmother's secret.

                                                Anything that calls for cinnamon.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: coll

                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with cream. Check
                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with pasta. Check
                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with beef. Check
                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with pork. Check
                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with veal. Check
                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with cheese. Check
                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with eggplant. Check

                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with tomato. Not sure. Examples?
                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with heavy EVOO. Not sure. Examples?
                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with heavy basil. Not sure. Example
                                                  Nutmeg + dishes with "loud" fish. Not sure. Examples?

                                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                    "Nutmeg + dishes with heavy EVOO. Not sure. Examples?"

                                                    Fresh ricotta, a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, S&P and a dash of freshly grated nutmeg. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert!

                                                    "Nutmeg + dishes with tomato. Not sure. Examples?"


                                                  1. re: Maggie19

                                                    Ok, there's an exception I forgot about. Swedish meatballs!

                                                  2. not exactly an answer to the question....... BUT ........
                                                    I can tell you one thing you shouldn't sneak nutmeg into >
                                                    Bolognese sauce

                                                    the RK in Boston does and it wasn't a flavor I wanted in there

                                                    when making warm spiced cookies or desserts like pumpkin pie or baked apple sliced or molasses treats, anything close, I use nutmeg but not tons, it's very aggressive

                                                    23 Replies
                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                      "not exactly an answer to the question....... BUT ........
                                                      I can tell you one thing you shouldn't sneak nutmeg into >
                                                      Bolognese sauce"

                                                      Interesting. Marcella Hazan, who many people on this board praise up and down as THE authority on Italian food, uses it in her Bolognese sauce.

                                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                                        give me a minute ttoommyy, I'll check out my "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking".
                                                        yep page 204 and I'll quote
                                                        "Add a tiny grating-about 1/8 teaspoon-of nutmeg, and stir."
                                                        I've made hers a dozen times and you're correct, but 1/8 tsp isn't being assertive or aggressive. I don't think a predoniment flavor in there should be nutmeg, a subtle note, very subtle but not predominent.
                                                        I consider one of her batches being a large pot of sauce too.

                                                        The RK's you may consider very good. Different taste buds.

                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                          But that is the beauty of nutmeg; it should never be a predominant flavor, it should just blend into the background notes of a dish. 1/8 teaspoon is a common measure for such an assertive spice.

                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                            Yeah, I don't recall any recipe that calls for a whole bunch of nutmeg.

                                                          2. re: iL Divo

                                                            There's NOTHING about her Bolognese sauce that is a "predominant flavor" IMO. That's what make it perfect.

                                                            I don't understand "I consider one of her batches being a large pot of sauce too."

                                                          3. re: ttoommyy

                                                            I have made Hazan's Bolognese sauce several times, following her recipe more closely than I normally would any recipe, and left out the nutmeg. It was exceptionally good to me, don't feel compelled to see if it would be better with nutmeg.

                                                            1. re: kengk

                                                              I'm not saying it would be. I was simply pointing out to IL Divo that Marcella Hazan lists it as an ingredient in her sauce.

                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                Marcella isn't the only one.

                                                                My bolognese recipe, given to me by a friend's Italian mother who is an excellent cook, also calls for a small grating of nutmeg. It's more commonly done in Italy than one might imagine.

                                                                1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                  Yes, I had the opportunity to take some classes at a
                                                                  school for chefs in Piedmont and they taught us to include
                                                                  nutmeg in the Bolognese. I'd never had it that way before,
                                                                  but now I definitely miss the nutmeg if it's not there.

                                                                2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                  ........and point it out you did...........touchee or is it toupee........sorry, must be my mood

                                                            2. re: iL Divo

                                                              "I can tell you one thing you shouldn't sneak nutmeg into >
                                                              Bolognese sauce" - I completely agree with you. Bleck.

                                                              Aggressive is a good way to describe it.

                                                              1. re: lynnlato

                                                                It's gotta be one of those cilantro-type taste thingies. I love everything about it and have gotten loads of savory ideas.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  I like it, just not in my Italian food and mostly in sweet dishes (although in Indian it totally makes sense to me). It's not how my mother and her family prepared sauces and I never encountered it until I moved South and went into an Italian restaurant here and ordered a red sauce dish and it was in the sauce. I couldn't figure out why. Ha!

                                                                  I may try it with asparagus and maybe even w/ my brussel sprouts since many folks mentioned that. I'm not a hater, c oliver, I swear it! ;-)

                                                                  1. re: lynnlato

                                                                    Okay, I tried it with roasted asparagus and it was, hands down, not a good flavor comb for me personally. My family of 4 gave it a thumbs down and we're pretty open-minded about new things and flavors. Oh well, we don't have to like everything.

                                                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                                                      agree again lynn

                                                                      just because others say it's a good thing or a must, doesn't mean I have to agree with them. especially when my taste buds dictate what makes me smile :)

                                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                                        lynn, our DD dislikes cilantro.
                                                                        always has always will.
                                                                        she has very definite taste buds that say no thank you to it.
                                                                        it's a sudsy taste to her, me l love it.
                                                                        there aren't many things I really can't stand.
                                                                        and I love nutmeg, in the right things though :;-/

                                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                                          Funny, I used to despise cilantro for the same reason as your DD. - soapy taste. I kept exposing myself to it and now I love it. I have managed to expand my "likes" with many, many things that I wanted to like. For instance, I am warming up to salmon. Never liked it before as I always found it to be too strong & "fishy". I came to like it smoked and sometimes raw in sushi and just recently had some really fresh baked wild salmon that I absolutely loved. The secret (which is not so secret), I learned, is fresh and wild baby. ;-)

                                                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                                                            lynn, I think that's a really good point. I have pretty much the same experiences with salmon. I should try some "wild baby" (LOVE that!) and see. My food-like list has certainly gotten bigger and bigger.

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              Ohmygosh, I have expanded mine dramatically. I remember an old thread about why would you "try" to like something. And I just thought to myself "why wouldn't you"? I mean I want to eat salmon because it's so good for me. So, i'll continue to seek out salmon that I like. I'm not at the point where I can order it at any restaurant, but there is one restaurant near me that does it perfectly - barely cooked in the center and baked on a cedar plank and there isn't even a hint of fishy.

                                                                              Years ago I never ate any fish or seafood. Today, I slurp oysters, eat just about anything out of the sea and I'm working on freshwater fish. Something about freshwater fish and fishy-ness that I struggle with. But I keep trying! Good luck c oliver!

                                                                  2. re: lynnlato

                                                                    lynnlato- aggressive or assertive yep

                                                                    thankful someone agrees with me.
                                                                    1/8 tsp isn't even worth mentioning in a recipe if it's a sauce that makes as much as MH's does. as I stated I've made it many a time. nutmeg > sticking to my guns, not a necessary ingredient.

                                                                  3. re: iL Divo

                                                                    Personally I like a smidge of it, grated and toasted, with a little crushed and toasted fennel seed in my Bolognese.

                                                                    1. re: tim irvine

                                                                      but see tim, I can not stand fennel any which way so you're no doubt a bird of a different feather :)

                                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                                        I don't get the impression here that anyone thinks you should be eating things that you don't like. @tim, that combo and prep sound terrific to me :)

                                                                    1. A little sprinkle on my bowl of chicken noodle soup.

                                                                      1. My cauliflower soup. Rib rub. Creamed spinach, and others I can't remember right now. I keep whole nutmegs in a grinder ready for use.

                                                                            1. Chili!
                                                                              (I also sneak in unsweetened cocoa).

                                                                              1. Most creamed vegetables
                                                                                potatoes gratin
                                                                                anything bechemel
                                                                                macaroni and cheese

                                                                                Nutmeg is the last spice I would ever by ground. I've been known to hand out whole nutmegs at parties when complemented on a dish

                                                                                1. I don't know if it's "sneaking" but classic creme brulee often has a dash of nutmeg in it.

                                                                                  I also add it to my apple pies.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. Empanadas, Mac n cheese, cream soups and creamed spinach.

                                                                                    1. What a great thread!

                                                                                      I've only included nutmeg when prepping french toast; and as a topping for egg nog drinks. So, I'm learning a lot here.

                                                                                      1. I never "sneak" it in to anything. I just boldly grab the nutmeg and grate away. Probably one of my favorite warm spices.

                                                                                        1. Indonesian Potato Soup and Potato Fritters
                                                                                          Mash Potatoes
                                                                                          Buttermilk Pie
                                                                                          Bolognese sauce
                                                                                          Apple Pie
                                                                                          Cake Doughnuts

                                                                                          1. Besides on my cereal, I didn't mind the shredded sweetened version at a Chinese sweets store in Kuala Lumpur. Maybe Aji Ichiban sells it in the states.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                              1. Rum cake. In the batter.

                                                                                                    1. Deeply flavored and layered braises get a fresh grate of nutmeg on the plate to brighten.

                                                                                                      1. I'd forgotten to mention this earlier.

                                                                                                        I love nutmeg added to pound cake and of course there's the old fashioned spice cake which has a nice dose of nutmeg.

                                                                                                        A slice of nutmeg infused cake with a cup of coffee = heaven on earth (well, one of many "heavens on earths" courtesy of good cooking).

                                                                                                        1. I mix brown sugar with ketchup and nutmeg and smear it on the outside of a meatloaf before baking it. And plenty of nutmeg gets sprinkled on any kind of custard, bread pudding, apple Betty, etc. Also very good sprinkled on hot chocolate.

                                                                                                          1. Over Rum and Pineapple juice..with ice and a splash of bitters

                                                                                                            1. Butternut squash
                                                                                                              Greens like spinach, chard, etc.

                                                                                                              1. Madame Benoit a well known Canadian cook used to recommend to add a bit of nutmeg and sugar to turnip.

                                                                                                                1. Latkes! In the batter, just a smidge before frying. These are potato and onion, shredded by hand with the coarse side of a cheese grater,egg, flour, salt and pepper. fried in sunflower oil.

                                                                                                                  1. one of my midwest friend's cake mix cheater recipes calls for yellow cake mix, mix according to directions but instead of the water, add inexpensive cream (sweet) sherry (the alcoholic fortified wine beverage stuff - NOT cooking sherry) - and a tsp of freshly ground nutmeg

                                                                                                                    bake in a bundt pan - not angel food pan (reminds me of "my big fat greek wedding" movie! - they put the pot of flowers in the middle of it, didn't they?)

                                                                                                                    it is a handy cake to make ahead to serve with fresh summer peaches, apricots, berries, etc.