Level up your Center of the Plate Protein with Fresh Garnishing

Garnishing dishes brings excitement by using a pop of color and unique taste and texture. Your proteins such as your steak, salmon, pork chops are great on their own, but to take them to that next level try using fresh ingredients to garnish them. Besides, don’t underestimate the power of presentation.

A beautiful garnished presentation also makes the diner feel they are getting their money's worth. It can also be more profitable because you are able to charge a premium because its perceived value is greater.

Most likely you already have many ingredients in your kitchen you can garnish with and it is a great way to utilize what you have before it goes to waste. Fresh garnish is always better, but dried works as well. Be inspired to create beautiful plate presentation with these garnishing tips and tricks.

The Art of Garnishing

When dealing with more of a liquid sauce, create personality by dotting sauces in the blank portions around the food on the plate. When adding a sauce, drizzle it on the plate very lightly without overdoing it. The flavor of the garnish is not supposed to be overpowering, yet a complement to the main component of the dish. Give a pop of color by arranging complementary garnishes around the main component of the dish.

What to avoid when garnishing:
  • Use foods that are not edible
  • Piling garnish only on one spot of the plate
  • Making it too complex it is time consuming and difficult to replicate

Garnishes to cross-utilize on an Italian-focused menu:
  • Lemon and lime
  • Basil
  • Mushrooms
  • Parsley
  • Shallots
  • Tomatoes
  • Minced garlic

‍Below are some examples of how you can create beautiful and impressive dishes with fresh garnishing:


Salmon has a bold and rich flavor along with a buttery texture– making it very versatile in dishes of various flavors. It is best paired with ingredients that pronounce and temper its flavor. 

Dill Sauce

Whisk together:

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Lemon Parsley Sauce
  • 4 teaspoons capers
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced scallion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 

Combine the parsley, capers, scallion and garlic in a bowl. Stir in the olive oil.


When done right, steak has so much great juicy flavor, it doesn’t need much dressing up to impress.

If you choose to add a little something, here are some suggestions.

Avocado, Citrus, and Herb Sauce
  • 2 avocados
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves

Herb Butter
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour, and up to 7 days.

Shallot Dressing
  • 3/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a pan, cook the shallots in the olive oil over low heat until they are soft. Put them in a blender and let cool. Add in the mustard and vinegar and combine until smooth. Add the parsley and pulse until finely chopped. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

Pork Chops

For a pork dish, fruits make great garnishes. Enhance this tasty, tender meat with a touch of fruit to make each bite savory and sweet!

Maple Pineapple Sauce

In a medium bowl, combine 

  • 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar, 
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh pineapple

Add in pineapple and toss to coat; let marinate.

Apple Cinnamon Sauce
  • 1 cup finely chopped apples
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ⅛ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅛ cup water or broth
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp pepper

‍In a saucepan, heat mixture on low-medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and spoon several tablespoons over each pork chop.