Why Bobby Flay Uses So Much Honey In Savory Dishes

Honey is for more than just sweetening your herbal tea. This powerhouse ingredient has tons of benefits. For one thing, honey is packed with polyphenols, per Healthline, which are plant compounds that function like antioxidants and fight free radical damage (via NCBI). Polyphenols are what make red wine, dark chocolate, berries, and turmeric so darn good for you (via Healthline). Honey is also rich in flavonoids and phenolic acids and darker varieties are richer in these anti-aging compounds. They can also help prevent type 2 diabetes and heart disease by "neutraliz[ing] reactive oxygen species in the body" (per Healthline). Speaking of type 2 diabetes, there's some indication that honey has benefits for diabetics as it improves blood sugar regulation with a hormone called adiponectin, which also reduces inflammation. There's even evidence that suggests consuming honey daily can help stabilize fasting blood sugar levels in those suffering from type 2 diabetes (per National Library of Medicine).

Because it boasts so many nutritional benefits, some might think of honey as more of a functional medicine than an ordinary ingredient. And as an ingredient, it's often relegated to sweet dishes like honey glazed salmon or whipped honey butter. But honey is seriously underutilized in the savory cooking component — just ask Bobby Flay.

Bobby Flay's honey tip

"Beat Bobby Flay" star Bobby Flay doesn't shy away from using the sweet stuff in any recipe. In fact, Flay has been known to stir syrupy sweet honey into a spicy ranch-style tomato sauce to be served with waffles and eggs (via Twitter). To give it a subtly sweet flavor? Nope, think again. According to Flay, honey helps "to balance out the big strong flavors, like these chili peppers" in his dish.

It might sound crazy, but Flay isn't the only proponent of this approach. The University of Wyoming also says that honey helps to balance the other flavors in a dish and recommends it as a binder in sauces and salad dressings because of its flavor-enhancing and equalizing quality. Looking for some ways to test out honey in unexpected dishes? It's also the unexpected ingredient that will majorly upgrade your egg noodles, bringing out the custardy flavor of the eggs, as well as a subtle sweetness.