What the Hay?

Is hay the newest darling of the food world?

Haute barnyard dining.
Hay keeps popping up on restaurant menus. Meats are roasted on beds of hay. Poultry is stuffed with it. Chefs are hay-smoking fish, tossing hay into stocks and sauces, and topping desserts with hay-infused whipped cream.

Chefs praise hay’s rustic, herbaceous flavors, and an aroma that is clean and pastoral. They say diners will find the taste to be new but instantly familiar. They also appreciate the notion of terroir; a sense of place that is imparted when the hay and the foods cooked in it are sourced from the same agricultural region.

Grass-fed people.
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of snickering, and it’s coming from farm bureaus across the midwest where hay is grown, threshed, and baled as fodder for animals. Rural Americans are much bemused by city folks paying top dollar to restaurants serving up fancy food versions of the barnyard staple.

Care to DIY?
There‚Äôs not much you need to know about cooking with hay. If you’re going to roast with it, you should soak it in water first. If you add hay directly to a soup or stew, you should strain it out before serving (cows have those four stomachs to our one). Singe the ends of the grass to add depth and smokiness.

Most chefs just have farmers bring them some hay with the egg deliveries. The rest of us will have to go to a farm or garden supply shop that carries edible, pesticide-free hay.

How do farmers really feel about culinary hay? The Ag Information Network summed up the sentiment in the radio broadcast Hay Brulee Anyone?

The Wall Street Journal calls hay one of the hottest, if weirdest, gourmet ingredients on the ground. Read Hay: It’s Not Just for Horses.


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2 Responses to What the Hay?

  1. Monet says:

    I have never heard of this…and all I can say is–interesting. I don’t know what I would do if my beef or chicken came on a bed of hay. But I guess it is creative? Thank you so much for sharing! Have a good Sunday afternoon.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Cooking With Hay | Gigabiting -- Topsy.com

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