Horseradish marshmallows? The sweet treat goes savory

Nov. 8, 2011 at 12:36 PM ET

The Girl and the Goat /
The foie gras marshmallow is paired with chocolate bouchon at The Girl and the Goat in Chicago.

Who doesn't love a charred, roasted marshmallow on a s’more, or a cap of fluff on top of a cup of steaming hot chocolate? The sweet vanilla taste is an American classic.

But vanilla marshmallows are so... vanilla. Now restaurants are turning the sweet treat savory: Chili, avocado and even liver are the newest flavors of marshmallows making their way onto menus.

Nation's Restaurant News predicts that house-made, uniquely flavored marshmallows will be all the rage in 2012. Take a look at some of the most interesting marshmallow mash-ups.


Longman and Eagle /
The horseradish marshmallow is featured with beef tongue at Longman and Eagle in Chicago.

Longman and Eagle in Chicago takes the classic combination of beef and horseradish and switches it up by serving a beef tongue prepared sous-vide, served with a horseradish marshmallow. Chef Jared Wentworth tells Time Out Chicago that he prepares the marshmallow with sugar instead of glucose syrup to make the end product less saccharine, and that the savory marshmallow “Might sound kind of ridiculous … [but] it eats really well.”

Saxon and Parole, a new  addition to the haute farm-to-table scene in New York, features a savory chili marshmallow in its Southeast Asian-inspired carrot and cardamom soup. The aromatic soup, made with spicy ginger and creamy coconut milk as well as fragrant cardamom, gets a kick of both heat and sweet as the marshmallow melts into it. Complex and unexpected, it is a marshmallow experience unlike any you have ever had.

Chicago’s Graham Elliot, a restaurant long known for its quirky and whimsical cooking style, was perhaps the pioneer of the savory marshmallow movement. The restaurant, named for its chef, has featured several iterations of savory marshmallows on its menu, including a savory mint marshmallow in a pea-and-pink peppercorn bisque. The latest offering is a spicy cinnamon marshmallow in a savory pumpkin bisque.

Artisanal marshmallows aren’t anything new, but how about marshmallows you can custom-order in flavors like prickly pear, star anise or white wine? Baltimore-based company Blasted Marshmallows offers a variety of savory marshmallows by special order, including Red Stripe beer, Thai chili and garlic. Imagine a steaming bowl of bison chili served with a beer marshmallow topper, or a bowl of Vietnamese pho topped with a pungent garlic marshmallow. The only limitations are your imagination and appetite!

Torre Liebchen /
The avocado marshmallow is featured in a salad at New Jersey restaurant Adara.

Montclair, N.J., might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of groundbreaking cuisine, but Chef Tre Ghoshal’s restaurant Adara is changing all that. The restaurant focuses on molecular gastronomy and unique ways to use flavors, including putting an avocado marshmallow in a salad with nasturtium (a type of watercress) and hearts of palm. Marshmallows in a salad – finally, a candy that can be considered health food!

The Girl and the Goat, the critically acclaimed restaurant run by “Top Chef” alum and winner Stephanie Izard, features perhaps the most audacious savory marshmallow – a foie gras marshmallow served with a dense chocolate bouchon as a dessert. Pastry chef Amanda Rafalski tells Time Out Chicago that “mixing foie with the marshmallow was ‘a leap of faith.’ ” Time Out thinks the leap landed extremely well, noting, “The foie adds a richness to the marshmallow that works with the equally rich chocolate bouchon it tops.”

Have savory marshmallows piqued your interest? Try this recipe for brown butter-and-sage marshmallows, courtesy of blogger Stella Parks, a.k.a, Brave Tart, who raves about this as the perfect topper for Thanksgiving sweet potatoes.

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 Sarah Spigelman is a New York-based writer who will eat anything that isn't moving too fast for her to catch. Check out Fritos and Foie Gras for more of her work.