Creative: Top Ten Garnishes
Make even weeknight meals special, these super easy
techniques will have you finishing your dishes like a pro!
1) Curls & Twirls. Use a vegetable
peeler to shave large curls from wedges of Parmesan cheese or milk
chocolate bars. For example:
- Top salads or pasta dishes with curls of Parmesan.
- Arrange chocolate curls on simple pudding or cupcakes.
- Create a professional bakery look on the Amazing Red Devil's
Food Cake, by making large curls from either milk or white
chocolate (or both!) and using them to cover the top of the
2) Savory Skewers. Use large
toothpicks or small wooden skewers to present complementary food for
entrees, salads or soups. For example:
- Arrange one or two small skewers of cherry tomatoes, fresh
basil leaves, and cubes of fresh mozzarella on a salad.
- Thread pieces of cooked sausage and cubes of crusty bread onto
picks and serve with hearty bean soups.
- Weave ribbons of thinly sliced ham around cubes of buttered
dark rye bread and thread onto skewers; broil until bread is
toasted, then serve on the rims of bowls of Creamy Potato Soup.
3) Garnish with Gremolata. Top
entrees and soups with gremolata, an Italian garnish consisting of
chopped parsley, garlic and lemon peel. Try other combinations of
herbs and citrus peel to play off the flavors in the main dish. For
- Minced lime peel, cilantro and toasted coconut on top of
- Minced lemon peel, basil and shallot on top of baked chicken.
- A bright, refreshing gremolata of chopped parsley, lemon peel
and sliced green onions makes the flavors of Pennsylvania Dutch
Ham and Noodle Casserole really pop.
4) Add Chives. Use chives to
garnish any savory dish. They can be used whole or cut into shorter
sections and tossed on top of an entree like pick-up-sticks. You can
also thread chives (they're hollow, like straws) with short pieces of
dry spaghetti and stick two or three upright in the dish.
5) Take a Spin with Shrimp. If
you're serving fish, top with a few corkscrew shrimp: Cut shrimp in
half lengthwise, then saut� briefly in butter and chopped parsley. As
they cook, the shrimp will tighten and form little corkscrews. Place a
few on top of each serving of fish.
Dress up Broccoli Fish Bake
with corkscrew shrimp. For deeper color, sprinkle a little paprika on
the shrimp during cooking.
6) Special Sour Creams. Mix sour
cream with fresh herbs or pantry staples to top any number of chicken,
fish, or beef dishes. For example:
- Dollop cilantro-spiked sour cream on top of chili or black
- Stir adobo sauce from a can of chipotles into sour cream and
use to top Mexican dishes, like enchiladas and tacos.
- Cool down the sizzle of Mexican Chicken & Rice by garnishing
with sour cream enhanced with chopped cilantro and minced lemon
7) Slices & Sprigs. Lemon or lime
halves paired with a sprig of cilantro or parsley gives a plate a
simple splash of color.
8) Add Flecks of Color. Stir
chopped fresh herbs into cooked rice.
9) Piping isn't Just for Desserts.
Buy an inexpensive pastry bag (or even use a resealable plastic bag
with the corner cut off) and large star tip to pipe mashed potatoes,
deviled eggs, and whipped cream.
10) Make Food Dance with Salsas.
Make salsa out of fruits or vegetables that complement the entree,
then use as a topping. Example:
- If you're serving pork, a combination of diced apples, minced
sage, red onion and melted apple jelly makes a fantastic garnish.
- Stir together a salsa made of fresh corn, diced red pepper,
green onions and a little lime juice.
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