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23 Unexpected Flavor Combos That Taste Amazing

Some of these are recent discoveries from chefs like Heston Blumenthal who study the chemical compounds of food. Others have been paired together for centuries in various ethnic cuisines. Either way: They work.

2. Strawberries + Fava Beans

Try it in chef Chris Cosentino’s Fava Bean and Strawberry Salad with Pecorino.

3. Salmon + Licorice

Salmon in liquorice gel at The Fat Duck restaurant. See it re-created here.

5. Chocolate + Sage

Fried Sage on Spicy Beef Jerky with Dark Chocolate by photographer Zack Burris.

9. Egg + Beet

Try it in Gourmet’s Aussie Burger recipe.

10. Egg + Coconut

Southeast Asia’s Kaya jam — a delicious combination of coconut milk, eggs, and sugar — is gaining popularity in the U.S., thanks to chef Susan Feniger’s new cookbook Street Food. In Asia it’s a breakfast dish and is spread on butter toast.

Try a recipe for Kaya Toast here.

11. Strawberry + Tomato

Try it in Eleven Madison’s Strawberry Gazpacho recipe on food52.

13. Butternut Squash + Lime

Try it in this recipe.

14. Oysters + Watermelon

Try it in a recipe for Oysters on the Half Shell with Watermelon Granita from Martha Stewart.

15. Avocado + Coffee

Blend 1/2 avocado with 1 cup brewed coffee (cooled), 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk 2 tsp vanilla and ice cubes.

18. Chocolate + Onion

Get directions here.

19. White Chocolate + Caviar

Get directions here.

21. Cinnamon + Thyme

Try it in a recipe for Cinnamon-Thyme Chicken. There’s also a video.

22. Shrimp + Walnuts

Get the recipe for Chinese Honey Walnut Shrimp.

23. Basil + Cloves

Italian cooks sometimes put a pinch of ground cloves in pesto; the two foods share a sweet compound called eugenol.

Find more info about flavor combinations in Niki Segnit’s book The Flavor Thesaurus, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg’s book The Flavor Bible, and on khymos.org.

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