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Test Kitchen tips: Garnishing with fresh herbs and zest

February 16, 2012 |  8:00 am

Meyer-lemon-cured fillet of salmon: Let the lemon-zest garnish air out before you sprinkle.
Recipes often call for a sprinkling of grated lemon zest or chopped fresh parsley as a garnish before serving, to give the finished plate a little extra color and flavor.

After you zest that citrus or mince those chives, take a moment to press the garnish between paper towels before sprinkling. This will help remove extra oils and moisture, so the garnish doesn't clump up as you sprinkle. There's nothing worse than spending a chunk of time working on a special recipe, like the crisp salmon from Thomas Keller (above), only to have the plating ruined when you drop a chunk of lemon zest on the presentation. After pressing the garnish, spread it out on a paper towel to further air it out before using -- you'll find it sprinkles just like confetti.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

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-- Noelle Carter
twitter/noellecarter

Photo: Meyer-lemon-cured fillet of salmon with white asparagus, chiogga beets, toasted hazelnuts and watercress mousseline. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times 

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