The Height of Flavor: Glutamate Cooking
By Diane Balch on March 19, 2012
I have made spaghetti and clam sauce, lasagna, and many other pasta dishes for years. They always tasted pretty good, but it wasn’t until I ate some Brushetta over a friends house one summer afternoon that my tastebuds registered an off the charts flavor.
Wow, I know you made this Bruschetta with home grown tomatoes but what is the seasoning you used? My friend said, “Just salt, pepper, and a little anchovy paste.”
"Anchovy paste? I didn’t taste anything fishing?"
Another evening I had spaghetti Puttanesca and I recognized the same intensity of flavor: anchovy paste. I just recently found out that the WOW in anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, Asian fish sauces along with Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, and tomato paste is glutamate. This is the amino acid used to make the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate. The foods that naturally contain high amounts of glutamate act as flavor enhancers.
So, if you put together a dish and it’s taste is a little dull before you reach for the salt, you might want to pour a little Worcestershire sauce over your meat, or add a little in anchovy paste to your pasta. Combine glutamate rich foods for even more flavor. Mushrooms seasoned with Worcestershire sauce are delicious over chicken or pasta and anchovy paste, tomato paste and Parmesan cheese are an excellent foundation for a sauce. read more
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