How to Choose a garnish
This book will show you something of the range of possible garnishes, with serving suggestions and variations on the most popular themes. The list suggests what basically goes with what, but here are a few guidelines you might find useful when choosing a garnish, or creating one of your own.
Some garnishes arise from time-honoured combinations, like lemons with fish, apples with pork, sage and onions with goose and cranberries with turkey, while others stern naturally from one of the dish’s components: lhrragon Chicken, for example, simply crowned with a sprig of that aromatic herb.
Still other garnishes are chosen specifically for contrast, whether in colour, texture, richness or flavour: pink prawns against the delicate green of an avocado mousse; crisp croutons in a creamy soup; fresh salad vegetables with a smooth pat6; a slice of seasonal butter to moisten grilled lish; the sharp simplicity of a twist of lime on a venison terrine; chilled cucumber cooling a spicy curry.
Remember that a garnish is there to enhance the food, not to disguise it, and your choice of serving dish contributes to this. Elaborate patterns can distract the eye while plain colours and simple, elegant shapes will enhance your work of an and set it off to its best advantage.
On a practical note, a garnish should be simple to assemble to avoid last-minute panics over rapidly cooling food, and easy to serve (arrange those cherries and orange slices around your duck, not on top of it).
So, bearing the above in mind, and with this book, a steady hand, and a vast array of possible ingredients to inspire you, you should be able to find the perfect garnish for any dish — and even invent a few of your own.
Lemon Half with a Knot
Cut a firm, unblemished lemon in half, then take a silver off the base of the lemon so it will sit upright firmly.
Holding a sharp paring knife or citrus cutter at a slight inward angle, peel away a 1/4 in /5 mm strip of skin, almost all the way round the top edge.
Tie the strip into an attractive knot as shown.
Variation if slice with a knot are preferred, complete as above, then slice off the ‘tied’ part of the lemon. Repeat the process as required. Oranges and limes are also suitable for the garnish.
Grooved Lemon Slices
Using a sharp paring knife or special citrus grooving knife, make grooves along the length of the fruit from end to end.
Slice the lemon, approximately 1/4 in /5 mm thick, but finer if they are to be twisted.
The lemon slices can be pressed into some finely chopped fresh herbs to coat the flesh.
Variation: Small oranges or limes can be used instead.
Lemon Twist and Cone
Cut a good sized lemon into 1/4 in slices, plain or grooved, and slit the slices almost to the centre.
For a lemon twist, twist the two outer surfaces in opposite directions.
For a lemon cone, form a funnel, slightly overlapping one cut end with the other.
A tiny, fresh herb sprig looks attractive in the centre of the twist or cone.
Cut a good sized lemon into 5 mm slices. Cut each slice in half, then cut the half, as if to quarter it, but without cutting right the way through to the centre.
Arrange the two attached triangles like a butterfly’s wings and using either fine strips of chive or red pepper, make some antennae.
Cut a lemon into 5mm slices. Halve the slices. Cut between the peel and the pith along the length of the half slice, leaving a small section at the end connected.
Form the lemon peel into a loop as shown, tucking its loose end in under the attached peel.
Use the lemon swans singly or arrange in attractive groups.