How bland would the fish and asparagus
look without the tomatoes? Photo courtesy
Galli Restaurant | New York City.
Did you ever wonder why some restaurants throw slices of hard, tasteless tomatoes into a salad? The simple answer is: to add color, which makes the dish look more appetizing.
No matter how delicious a dish may be, the presentation needs a hit of color—green, red, yellow—to give it a lift.
That’s the rationale for the ubiquitous sprig of parsley and the red berry and/or mint leaf atop rice pudding and vanilla ice cream.
Much of the food we eat is beige or otherwise earth-toned. So do a color check on everything you serve.
If it’s a sweetened food—from cereal to apple pie—add some color with raspberries or sliced strawberries, or fan a large strawberry to top a piece of pie or pound cake.
RED GARNISHES ROCK
For savory dishes, use cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes or diced red bell pepper. Sliced red jalapeño works if you like the heat. All can be marinated first, in a vinaigrette or flavored olive oil. In essence, the garnish becomes a mini salad.
If you buy sundried tomatoes, look for a bright red color and use them up relatively quickly. They oxidize to a blackish red over time.
Other red garnish options: radish slices (or the retro radish rose) or a sprinkling of red spice (paprika, chili flakes, pink peppercorns) along the rim of the plate.
Shredded red cabbage, with or without a vinaigrette, and shredded radicchio leaves are other options. If you’re near a good farmers market, look for amaranth and red chard.
There are dozens and dozens of everyday ingredients that can be used to garnish. Check out our article, Garnish Glamour.
And beyond nutrition, color is another reason to add brightly colored vegetables to your meals.
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