Cooking With Coffee: How To Red-Eye

Cooking With Coffee: How To Red-Eye

Coffee, surprisingly, is a mystery ingredient.  Unidentified flavors are what make eaters take those second and third bites - the element of confusion is unexpectedly intriguing.  Coffee’s roasted qualities, slightly acidic properties and punchy bitterness make it extremely versatile and complex when it comes to matching ingredients. 

We’re no strangers to mocha. Coffee and chocolate will be together forever.  Coffee’s bitterness cuts through sweetness like a charm.  Tiramisu without espresso? No thanks. Take this magic combo a step further – make it savory.  Try a coffee and chocolate steak rub.  Ground coffee beans’ tenderizing qualities and robust flavor has a likeness to meats.

Red-eye gravy makes for some great Southern lowbrow cleverness.  This thin gravy is made with the drippings of country ham and black coffee, and is served with country ham, cornbread, grits, or biscuits  Originally, black coffee was added to deepen the color of gravy.  Check out our simple southern recipe.

David Chang of the famed Momofuku makes a ballsy red-eye mayonnaise.  At Momofuku Ssam bar, he serves the mayo alongside a selection of country hams.  DIY it by adding hot sauce and finely ground coffee granules (make into a powder and use a decent brand) to store bought or homemade mayonnaise.  Chang’s original recipe can be found in his book, which you can buy here


Pairing Tips:

  • Pair coffee with bold flavors: meats, chocolate, spicy dishes, citrus, bold spices, brown sauces and marinades.
  • It helps to think of coffee as a spice.  Use coffee grounds in rubs. 
  • Add a few granules of instant coffee to pale or bland gravy and sauces.  It’ll give the appearance and flavor a real boost.
  • For recipes calling for ground coffee, grind up some fresh beans just before using.
  • Coffee retains its caffeine even after cooking or baking.  Consider using decaf to avoid the buzz. 

So, what else can we red-eye?

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