It’s tough goings for the garnish industry in the winter. Fresh herbs refuse to pop up until the weather warms so I’m left with spices, sauces and dried herbs to lay that finishing touch on a dish.
Earlier this year I wrote about a different type of garnish issue – I used an ingredient foreign from the dish to decorate it. I thought the beautiful black pellets of mustard seeds would contrast nicely to the orange sweet potato soup splattered with bright, white yogurt. And in fact, I think it looked lovely. I decided it didn’t matter that I hadn’t used mustard seed in the soup. I’d use it to enhance the look of the dish, without compromising the taste.
I used the opposite approach this weekend in my bean and cabbage dish. This was a simple, hearty dish combining tiger eye beans, slashed cabbage, onion and garlic, flavored with chipotle and cumin. The cabbage, onion and garlic adapted the brick color of the chipotle and adobo sauce and the tiger beans lost their stripes in the long cooking process, turning into a similar hue as the rest of the dish.
It needed some contrast. It needed some brightness. And I didn’t have a goddamn fresh herb in sight.Read More›