Hi, I'm thinking about adopting a philosophy of "If it tastes bad on its own, it's going to taste bad in the recipe". And I'm talking about things that are simply BAD. I'm not talking about things like vinegar or anchovie paste that obviously are obviously unpleasant if consumed straight. You can still tell from instinct that the items will work in a dish, even though they taste unpleasant on their own.
I've been using some newer ingredients I'm not used to, and one experience that comes to mind is Tamarind Concentrate. It just doesn't taste good, and I don't see how it can taste good in anything. And it's not that I don't like tamarind, it's just that I got this really funky flavor from it as well. And no, there was nothing wrong with it. So I use it hoping it will magically work in a recipe for Vindaloo, and sure enough, it tasted very yucky. Fortunately, I was able to salvage some edible food with a lot of lime and curry powder. I'll try tamarind paste next time and hopefully get better results.
So guys, are there ingredients out there that you think are downright bad, but they somehow work in a recipe?