The yogurt aisle is starting to get outright silly. But here's a new product that is worthy of its shelf space. Times art critic Lennie Bennett leaned over her cubicle one day and told me, "Dan Barber is now making Blue Hill savory yogurts." It took me a couple of weeks to head to Fresh Market to investigate, because Lennie did not adequately convey the "run, don't walk" import of her news.
Made from 100 percent grass-fed cows, some of them Blue Hill's own cattle, they contain 30 percent or more vegetable puree and come in these flavors: butternut squash, beet, carrot and sweet potato. (They also supposedly come in tomato and parsnip flavor, but Fresh Market didn't have those.) The pretty black tubs are smallish, containing 5.3 ounces, and cost $2.69.
First off, they are gorgeous, in Easter-egg pastels of pale pink, orange and peach, smooth with no veggie bits, glossy and a little thinner than a Greek-style yogurt. They are sweet enough, and interesting enough, to be eaten straight out of the tub. The butternut squash flavor has a bit of maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg, so it's got a pumpkin pie vibe that would work well with just a sprinkle of nutty granola.
But there are all kinds of applications for them. I used the beet flavor, which has an earthy-roasty flavor and a slight fruity tang from raspberries and red wine vinegar, as a pretty sauce alongside a pan-seared coho salmon with dill. They would be dreamy as baked potato toppers (or anyplace you'd want a jazzed-up sour cream) and would function as instant dips for an impromptu party. I fell in love with Dan Barber, a James Beard winner and chef and co-owner of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., during his Ted talk (called "How I fell in love with a fish") and fell back out of love watching him in Netflix's Chef's Table. These savory yogurts have reignited my passion. For recipe ideas, visit bluehillyogurt.com/kitchen.
Laura Reiley, Times food critic