For many people, lamb and mint are a classic Easter dish. While some people might scoff at the idea of that brightly colored mint jelly on the table, there is a scientific rationale why this food pairing works. Will the science change how you create recipes going forward?
Some people love lamb. From those perfectly grilled lamb chops to the gigantic roasted lamb leg, the variety of delicious recipes can make it the star of the table. Even Disney food festivals have offered their creative takes on lamb.
Often, lamb and mint are served together. While some foodies might turn their noses up at that jar of mint jelly, the flavor of mint does work well with lamb. Although you might think that it was just some silly rule that grandma created, the truth is that the idea is founded in science.
What’s the scientific secret to pairing lamb and mint?
According to Cooks Illustrated, lamb and mint are chemically related. Apparently, the branch-chain ketones are similar. While the chemistry should be left to a lab, the short answer is that the two foods have a scientific connection.
At the same time, parts of the lamb’s diet creates a compound that compliments the aroma of mint. While not exactly the same concept of food that grows together goes together, an analogy can be made to that mindset.
From the braised lamb shank to a grilled lamb kofte, the science proves that the mint in these dishes adds to the food satisfaction. In some ways, it makes a bigger statement for science in the kitchen.
While savory cooks would prefer to stay away from the exact measurement requirements and science in baking, the reality is that there are some scientific reasons why certain foods pair well. Beyond the lamb and mint idea, many chefs have uncovered certain food pairings that might seem unlikely but really do well. Has anyone tried blue cheese and chocolate?
When creating the next recipe, it might benefit from having a little science in the kitchen. It could reveal a flavor pairing that will change the ingredients of a favorite recipe for the better.