Our Favorite Sweet and Salty Food Combinations

Foodies everywhere are discovering that these tastes belong together (if you haven't tried sea salt chocolate yet, get on it!). Snacks are a given, but we never thought about it working in our other dishes. A new book, Niki Segnit’s <em>The Flavor Thesaurus</em>, inspired some wacky but delicious new versions!
sweet and salty egg

Coconut & Eggs

Egg yolks have a naturally salty, buttery taste that marries well with sweets (which might explain why Japanese omelets are traditionally spiked with sugar). We like the mild sweetness and nutty kick of coconut. Add a shot of coconut milk to eggs before scrambling, or serve them with a side of coconut pancakes (just sprinkle flakes into the batter).

sweet and salty bacon

Bacon & Broccoli

Though you might not think of broccoli as sweet, it actually does fall on the bittersweet end of the vegetable scale (its main flavor is sweet, then it's bitter in the aftertaste). That's why you often see it with salty ingredients, like anchovies in Italian cooking or soy sauce in Chinese food. At home, pan-fry the florets with salty bacon and top with parmesan cheese.

sweet and salty olives

White Chocolate & Olives

This seemingly stomach-turning combo doesn't taste as unusual as it sounds (we swear!). Olives are cured in salt or brine before they can be eaten, so their salt level is mighty high -- which works perfectly against white chocolate, the sweetest of all chocolates. For a subtle start, try sweetening olive crostini with a little shaved white chocolate.

sweet and salty pear

Beef & Pear

Beef is at its best after a healthy dose of salt -- it helps the meat stay juicy and brings out its flavor. Sweet pears help balance out all that meaty, salty richness, thanks to their mild sweetness and crispness (the perfect contrast to chewy beef). To try the combo at home, toss a few pear slices into a flank steak salad, or top a burger with a pear chutney instead of ketchup.

sweet and salty grapefruit

Blue Cheese & Grapefruit

All citrus fruits have a sweet-tart tropical taste that goes great with salty cheeses. But grapefruit and blue cheese are the best match of all: Both share a bitter streak that helps them blend together on the tongue. Put a few grapefruit wedges on greens and top with blue cheese for a salad that's a knockout.