In this video we discuss how to garnish food and some concepts to take into consideration when planing a completed dish. This video was inspired by a question posted by a YouTube viewer regarding our "Composed Cauliflower Soup" video.
YouTube User nvj944 asks: "When doing this 'pour in presentation' what's the trick to the garnishes? Are there some that work better than others. Also, the sliced cauliflower doesn't float right? So, you need to use a wide, shallow bowl otherwise the soup would cover up your beautiful presentation."
First, let's address the serving vessel and the issue with the soup covering the garnishes, which honestly isn't really an issue at all. Part of the "drama" that comes with serving a composed soup is the vanishing garnishes; a plate that was made purely for the pleasure one gets from looking at it, and then covered table side before being consumed.
As far as choosing appropriate garnishes, that's what this video discussion is really all about.
When choosing garnishes it is important to first identify the primary ingredient which all other garnishes will enhance. Once the primary ingredient is identified, start choosing garnishes that have complimentary flavors, colors and textures. In the example of the cauliflower soup above, the puree is a smooth consistency which can become quite one dimensional and boring after a few spoonfuls. When the same flavors and textures are tasted over and over, this quickly leads to "palate fatigue" and your primary ingredient becomes much less interesting bite after bite.
Properly chosen garnishes can prevent palate fatigue by introducing contrasting textures and complimentary flavors. When choosing complimentary flavors, take into consideration the overall texture and flavor profile of your primary ingredient. The pureed cauliflower soup contains fat in the form of cream and butter, which, while offering a nice mouth feel, fat is also known to coat the palate and deaden other flavors. This "deadening" effect can be countered by adding "brightness" in the form of acid (think vinegar, citrus, etc.), and/or by adding a little kick through the application of spice, in this case, togarashi.
Three Rules For Garnishing a Plate
- Garnishes should always be functional. If you can't eat it, it doesn't belong on the plate. There are a few exceptions like skewers and specialty utensils, but these exceptions are few and far between.
- Garnishes should always enhance the primary ingredient. If the garnish doesn't enhance the flavor of your primary ingredient then it doesn't belong on the plate.
- Garnishes should always add contrasting colors, textures and overall interest. If too many components on a single plate share the same color tone, then your plate will look flat. Try to use garnishes with contrasting colors and textures that don't break the first two rules.
This video also recommends the use of "The Flavor Bible" for inspiration in finding complimentary ingredients when coming up with a new dish.
The list can go on, but instead, what are your ideas? How can you take fresh pasta and turn it into your own unique dish? Let me know in the comments!