In the eye of the beholder

To most, Food is about flavor, but as the famous cliché says it, it is also about sight. From very early on, as a French kid you are told that you first “eat with your eyes” and I have found this aphorism to be true in so many ways.

plating
Not your everyday meal, from theartofplating.com

As a cook, when you have spent some time planning your dish, selecting & prepping the ingredients, thinking about the flavor combination, adjusting the seasoning and keeping an watchful eye on the simmering pot to ensure the perfect cooking time; the culmination of that work is reached when, as the dish approaches the table, the excitement fills the room and the expectation rises without any word being pronounced.  It’s a feast, a silent celebration of your effort, of the ingredients and of the people about to enjoy the fruit of your labor.

Plating is an art. One I have no pretention nor eagerness of ever mastering.  I simply can’t muster the complications and fussiness it requires, though I do admire it when encountered. This is why, unlike a Michelin chef competing for their 3rd Star, I claim that successful plating doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to make you feel happy & proud.  Therefore be warned; this post is NOT about creating a awe inspiring, overly engineered plate of food with mathematical precision, but instead an Ode to Simplicity and respect to the ingredients and to the comforting look of a real plate of food.

chanterelles
Simple sauteed Vegetables from our Urban Farming CSA –  Hertoniemen Ruokkapiiri

To me, there is a few things as pleasant as ingredients that haven’t been moved around too much and that still hold their original shape like a shimmering sea bass roasted with summer vegetable and served whole on a simple dish, or freshly picked mushrooms lightly sauteed on a bed of garlic & herbs and simply tossed in a messy celebration of their natural beauty.

Cooking should be about glorifying the ingredients & not the chef, this is why, to me, the most exciting dishes are always the simplest. I find that it takes courage to not toss around too much while preparing food and to simply let the heat, oil & caramelizing process operate and develop something unique. A perfect example of this is my Roast-beef recipe. It requires No touching, and absolute trust that the ingredients know best. The “cook’s” only contribution being in light handed carving & patience.

Classic Roast-beef Recipe for 6 people800 grams Roast-beef, Unpeeled root vegetables, rosemary & thyme (fresh if possible), whole cloves of garlic to taste, 1 onion, olive oil, salt & pepper.

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven at 180 degrees C, roughly cut your vegetables, onion(peeled) and toss them in an ovenproof dish. Add the garlic cloves
  2. Place the meat in the center, surrounded by the vegetables, season with salt pepper, herbs and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Place in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes (I love my roast rare) or a few minutes longer for medium  rare ( I will not tell you how long for well done, as it would simply be wrong!). While waiting, you may as well enjoy a glass of red wine…
  4. After 45 minutes, take out the meat, leave it to rest on a cutting board covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes, you can put the vegetables back in the oven under roast for a caramelized side dish
  5. After resting, carve the meat & serve with whatever your fancy is! I prepared it with a mix of wheat wild rice & red quinoa & served with with freshly picked green peas.

Serve hot & accompany with tingly Dijon mustard & some of that red wine you were enjoying earlier… It is even more delicious, the day after, as cold cuts, on a slice of toasted rye bread with pickled vegetables & of course Dijon mustard!

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Lyn says:

    wow! it’s really mouth watering.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hungryinhelsinki says:

      @Lyn! , Thanks 🙂 do try it out, it’s really simple and so delicious! Let me know how it turns out!

      Like

      1. Lyn says:

        okay. i will

        Liked by 1 person

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