Vanilla beans and extracts lend a much-loved flavor to sweets, but there are just as many savory uses for this exotic fruit.
- Photo: Beau Gustafson; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
A Teaspoon of FlavorUse vanilla to add rich flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike. Use it in your regular poundcake recipe and you'll see the difference, then try it in salad dressings, marinades, custards, and dessert sauces.
Vanilla Bean Crème BrûléeSteeping a vanilla bean in the milk used to make the custard, and scraping seeds from that bean into the milk, gives this easy brûlée a wonderfully intense vanilla flavor. If you don't have a blow torch, check out our simple stovetop sugar topping.
Fish in Paper Parcels with Leeks, Fennel, Chives, and VanillaEntertain in style with this show stopping make-ahead entrée. Snapper (or any white fish) gets nestled into parchment paper along with thinly sliced vegetables, seasonings, and whole vanilla beans. It couldn't be simpler, and the flavors are stunning.
Vanilla Custard Crumble with Mixed BerriesWhile the custard is made with a vanilla bean, the crumble topping is a simple mixture of crushed vanilla wafers, butter, egg white and vanilla extract. It's easy to make up both in advance and then add berries or any seasonal fruit.
Vanilla Bean Angel Food CakeMade with cake flour and a dozen egg whites, this moist cake is fragrant with vanilla. That's because the sugar for the cake is infused with the seeds of a whole vanilla bean before being added to the batter.
Vanilla Balsamic ChickenAs they roast, chicken thighs are infused with the flavors of balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, orange, and a whole vanilla bean. Rather than stand out, vanilla harmonizes and complements the other flavors. Substitute chicken breasts if you'd like.
Mixed Salad with Vanilla-Pear Vinaigrette and Toasted WalnutsOnce you try this fat-free pear vinaigrette, you'll be using it on just about everything. It's that good. Even better, it's a snap to assemble with canned pears, honey, white wine vinegar, and a splash of vanilla extract.
Vanilla Cream SauceDrizzle this easy cream sauce over fresh berries, bread pudding, or any dessert that needs a special finishing touch. It's a slam-dunk over chocolate ice cream, and the fact that it's made with vanilla extract keeps things simple.
How-To Video: Vanilla BeansWatch this video and learn how to scrape the seeds from fresh vanilla beans.