In dishes from all around the world, garnishes are used to visually impress and lend dishes an element of style and elegance. Sometimes garnishes add flavor as they are mostly cut from fruit and vegetables, but often they are used specifically as the plate's focal point. From attractive carrot trees to cool cucumber flowers, the art of garnishing can range from easy to very difficult and can require considerable skill with a sharp knife. There is a huge range of ways to garnish your salads, whether you want to amaze your guests with your knife skills, or whet their appetites with some artistic arrangements is up to you.
Lemon Snail Garnish
Take a lemon and, using a sharp knife, cut it in half. Start with the first half of the lemon and, following the line between the rind and the lemon, cut three quarters of the way around, making sure not to cut the lemon. From where the lemon is still attached, make two cuts slanting outward, these will be the antennas. Placing the lemon downward like a hump-backed bridge, fold the middle section of rind inward and it tuck under, making the antennas pop up and giving the lemon a distinct snail shape. Repeat with the second half for two snail garnishes.
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Cucumber Flower Garnish
Cut the cucumber on a bias into paper thin strips, put them into a bowl and cover with a sprinkling of salt and let them sit for five minutes. The salt takes out their water content and makes them easier to work with. Rinse them off and pat them dry, laying about five of them out end to end, slightly overlapping each other. Roll them up and they will stick together before placing them on their ends, gently squeezing in the middle will cause the cucumber to make for some vibrant, edible flowers.
Strawberry Tulip Garnish
This is one of the more novice garnishes but still makes for an eye catching salad accompaniment. Taking a strawberry, remove the crown with a paring knife and place upside down so the tip is facing upward. Cut almost in half, leaving about one-sixth of the strawberry intact. Make a similar cut so you have made an equal cross shape and then carefully prize open the strawberry which will now resemble a tulip. You can add a blackberry to the center of each flower for a delicious tasting contrast.
Tomato Rose Garnish
This garnish really is impressive and when executed correctly, looks very much like the real thing. Take a large, red tomato and, with a very sharp knife, make an incision at the top and keep thinly peeling around the fruit. Keep going until you are near the bottom, then at the base of the incision, wind the peel around in concentric circles to make the petals of a beautiful rose. Tuck in the peel to secure and cut the flower an inch below, leaving a base for it to stand on.