By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional
When creating a memorable food experience, I think many people forget that we use more than our taste buds. The first thing someone experiences is the smell. That is their first sense that comes in to play, and usually long before they even see the food. That tantalizing aroma that makes your mouth water and your stomach growl with hunger.
The second, and possibly the most important sense we use is sight. What the food looks like can determine how the entire food experience goes. Especially if it is a cold dish and smell isn’t part of the equation. How the food is presented instinctively tells a person whether they are going to like it or not. That simple statement that most of us make “This looks good” says more than what the mere words being verbalized conveys. You make up your mind then and there as to the rest of the food experience.
My youngest daughter, Avril, loves almost anything I make but she hates the look of mushrooms and if she even sees one ahead of time, then she tells herself she won’t like the meal. Even if you can’t taste them. A lot of people are like that, so I tend to chop them small and not make them the prevalent item on the plate.
Finally, we get to the sense of taste when it comes to our food experiences. For Avril, I make sure that mushrooms only add to the overall flavor and can’t be distinguished otherwise. Now after the meal, I will tell her they were there so that she sees that they aren’t bad or yuck et as she says. Taste is where that umami factor comes into play. Where you just want to savor every bite, but at the same time want the next as quick as possible.
For certain dishes, I have learned to deconstruct them and plate them in unique ways, say that they are visually more appealing.
- 2 Green Apples
- 6 Eggs, Hard Boiled for 4 Minutes
- 2 Cups Lump Crab, Cooked
- 1/2 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Cubed
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Cup Mayonnaise
- 1/2 Cup Mustard
- 1 Tbs. Paprika
- 2 Tbs Fresh Dill, Chopped Fine
- Cracked Black Pepper
- Empty Pint Size Sour Cream Container, With Bottom Cut Off
- Nonstick Cooking Spray
- In a medium sauce pan, add your eggs, cover with water and over medium-heat bring to a low boil. Reduce your heat to medium and cook for 4 minutes.
- Once your eggs are cooked, remove from the heat and run cold water over your eggs for a couple of minute to cool them down.
- While your eggs are cooking, Chop your green apples, skin on, into medium size pieces and place into a small mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of your lemon over the apples and toss. Cooking Tip: The acid in the lemon juice keeps the fruit from turning brown. Apples turn brown after being cut because of being exposed to air and oxidation starts to occur.
- When your hard boiled eggs have cooled, cut them in half and separate the whites and the yolks into two separate mixing bowls. You want to cut the whites and the yolks into medium size pieces. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over your egg whites and toss.
- In a small bowl mix 1/2 Cup mayo, 1/2 pf your chopped dill, pinch of salt and a pinch of cracked black pepper. Mix together well. Add this to your green apples and toss.
- In another small bowl, add your remaining mayo, Mustard, paprika and remaining dill. Mix together well. Remove about 1/4 to a small cup and add the rest to your egg yolks and gently toss, careful to not break your egg yolks.
- In a small chopper or blender, add your cheddar cheese cubes. Pulse until your cheddar cheese looks like crumbs. Place in a small bowl.
- Take your ring mold, and spray a light coating of nonstick spray to the inside.
- To plate your salad, place your mold into the center of your plate. Cooking Tip: there is no reason to buy a ring mold for plating, a pint size plastic container will do. I suggest a sour cream container because of the height, but any empty, plastic container with the bottom cut off will do.
- Spoon a small amount of your mayo and mustard mixture into the bottom of your mold and spread out to the edges. This simply acts a glue for your salad to stay in place on the plate.
- Spoon a quarter of your egg whites into the mold and press down so that it isn’t too loose.
- Then spoon a quarter of your egg yolks into the ring and again, press down to hold it firmly in place.
- Next, spoon a quarter of your lump crab meat into the ring and press down.
- Then, add a quarter of your apples to the ring mold and press down again.
- Finally, add a quarter of your cheese crumbles to the top and gently press down.
- Using a spatula, hold down you salad as you slowly lift the ring mold upwards. You may need to wriggle the mold as you lift.
- Repeat the process until you have four servings created. Enjoy with friends or family this updated version of egg salad.