Garnishing food is an age old practice that helps to add to a dish’s visual appeal and sometimes it’s’ flavor. Garnishes are made from a variety of mediums and can be simple, like a sprig of fresh parsley, or more fanciful like a radish rose.
Unfortunately some home cooks are intimidated by fancy garnishes primarily because they look difficult to make. In reality creating fancy garnishes is not all that difficult.
What follows are five deceptively simple to make vegetable garnishes that you may want to consider when adorning your holiday table this year. They are carrot curls, celery tassels, scalloped cucumber slices, radish roses and pointed tomatoes.
First wash and scrub the carrots. Then take out a potato peeler and pare down the length of each carrot to remove a thin slice. Afterward roll up the thin carrot slice and fasten it in place with a wooden toothpick. Finally, place the rolled up and fastened carrot peels into a bowl of ice water and let them sit in it for a few minutes. The cold water will make the carrot peel curl set.
Begin by washing the celery stalks and thoroughly drying them. Next, using a sharp knife cut them into 2 inch lengths. Then cut down the lengths at narrow intervals almost to the end of the stalk. Afterward, place the stalks into a bowl of ice water and let them remain there for a few minutes. The cold water will make the slices you made in the celery stalks to curl up and set.
Scalloped Cucumber Slices
Start by thoroughly washing and wiping down the cucumber. Then take either a household fork or a lemon stripper and score a series of lines down the length of the cucumber. Once the cucumber is scored, slice it into thin slices. Salt the slices before placing them on the serving tray if so desired.
Wash and dry the radishes first. Then beginning at the radish base, take a sharp knife and make six to eight length-wise cuts into it until you reach the radish base. Afterward, place the cut radish into a bowl filled with ice water and let them sit there for a few minutes. The ice water will cause the cut radishes to unfurl into an accordion shape. Finish the garnish off by taking the accordion shaped radish and positioning it into a rose formation.
Begin by gingerly washing and drying the tomato thoroughly. Note that firm tomatoes work best for this application. Then take a sharp knife and make a series of v-shaped indentations around the circumference of the tomato making sure the cuts go all the way through to the tomato’s center. Once all the cuts have been made, gently separate the tomato at the cut line so that it is now in two halves.