Just Gotta Garnish

grilled lamb pita
Lamb patties with their multiple garnishes

The Grill-Meister is my best taste tester for my new recipes.  He can dissect the ingredients I’ve assembled into what I think is a masterpiece and hit on the one thing that could be improved, which I really like.  I listen to his feedback and my recipes get better.  He said something that struck me earlier this week when I served the Spiced Middle Eastern Lamb Patties from Epicurious:

What I really love is all that stuff on the side; the condiments and the garnishes just make the dishes you serve.

That got me thinking about my cooking and how I believe that a dish really does get completed by its accompaniments.  All of my favorite meals include sauces, dips, condiments and garnishes, even if it’s just a sprinkling of herbs or chopped nuts.  And I always feel pampered and pleased when someone else has prepared the meal and included the “little something extra” (lagniappe, as the French would say).

Garnishes and condiments are a supporting cast that add color and texture and provide complementary or contrasting flavors that highlight the main dish and make it a star.  And they are so visually appealing:  the food looks like artwork when it has been adorned.

So – just gotta garnish!

Garnish

A tray of garnishes for Turkey Cevap, a recipe to be published next week

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Black Bean Salad can be a garnish or a side dish
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Drinks like the Myra Hot Toddy look so much more drinkable with a garnish
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The parsley and scallions on the Mashed Potato Pancake add color and crunch, while the cheese and sour cream provide contrasting texture
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A Smorgasbord is all about the garnishes and condiments
Glover Gardens Chili
Glover Gardens Chili is a work of art in its bright blue dish with colorful peppers and onions
Smoked Salmon Spread
Capers and fire-engine red tomatoes brighten up Smoked Salmon Spread
Pulled Pork Tacos and Guacamole
Quick Guacamole is the perfect compliment for pulled pork tacos, along with Pico de Gallo.
Spring Greens and Green Apple Salad
The Spring Greens and Green Apple Salad sparkles on the plate with its cheese shavings and walnuts
Pico de Galla and ingredients
Pico de Gallo is my all-time favorite garnish and one of my top ten foods

 

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