“Finish” Your Dish and Maximize Flavors Like a Pro Chef

A hand sprinkling seasoning on a plate of salmon and rice.Africa Studio / Shutterstock

"Finishing" a dish is the last step in creating an incredibly satisfying meal that will make your taste buds sing. Here's how to add zing to your meal.

What does it mean to finish a dish?

As a child, your mother probably repeated to you many times that if you wanted a dessert, you had to clean your plate, but that's not what a chef means when she talks about "finishing" a plate. To professionally "finish" a dish, you add a final touch of flavor or texture to make your meal stand out.

Often people confuse "garnish" and "finish". When preparing a meal, both components have separate goals. The main purpose of a finish is to add more flavor, while a garnish is used to embellish or decorate your dish.

Finishing ingredients

There is a good chance that you already have most of these finishing ingredients in your kitchen, but if not, you can find them in any local grocery store. These three types of finishes offer an abundance of flavor or a palatable texture that will bring everyone back for a few seconds.

Citrus zest

A hand peels a lemon on a microplane.Emilee Unterkoefler

When you lightly pass a lemon or other citrus on a grater with microplans, you are zested. Make sure to zest only the colored part of the fruit, the white part of the skin is bitter.

If you are baking an orange cranberry bread for Thanksgiving dinner, put an orange on top just before serving. This adds a lively and refreshing experience to every bite.

Lemon peel is perfect for lemon and blueberry bread and always add lime zest to your lime pie.

Oils and butter

A salted butter or extra virgin olive oil fillet (EVOO) can make all the difference on some foods.

Have some friends for a glass of wine? Make a light bruschetta topped with a fresh French baguette. Just before serving, add a little EVO on top to add a nice complexity to your appetizer.

You can also add a small amount of Italian balsamic vinegar, but with a little caution, you do not want the intensity of the vinegar to dominate the delicate flavors of the dish.

Three scallops and two asparagus finished with brown butter on a plate.Emilee Unterkoefler

Brown butter is another easy way to give your meal a divine taste. To make brown butter, simply heat a few tablespoons of butter in a saucepan until it turns brown. The rich butter of hazelnut watered with scallops scallops, or even of pasta, will make say to your taste buds: "Wow!

Salt and pepper, freshly crushed

Salt and pepper are two simple ingredients that most people shake during their meal without any hesitation. You see shakers on every restaurant table, but the good peppercorns and salt can give your dish an entirely new feel.

When you use freshly crushed peppercorns, they give a tangy taste and a crunchy texture, which is exactly what these poached eggs need on a Sunday morning.

Swap your table salt for something a little greasier, like the salt of the Himalayas, which contains 84 natural minerals. It's pretty, healthy and delicious!

Maximize the flavor of steak and chicken

A bowl of butter with garlic and herbs next to a cutting board, with parsley and a knife.Emilee Unterkoefler

You can add a finish to all kinds of dishes, but meats are particularly beneficial. When you finish your steak or chicken with garlic butter and herbs, this not only gives an incredible result, but its creamy taste also makes it an unforgettable meal.

To make a butter with garlic and herbs, follow the recipe below:


1 baguette butter (room temperature)
1 tbsp. sliced ​​garlic
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Mix all the ingredients and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. When your steak or chicken comes out of the grill, add a cold hazelnut of butter to the garlic and herbs.

Improve fish and seafood

Most fish dishes are delicious with a fresh lemon fillet. Citrus fruits help reduce the intensity of the fish's taste and give your palate a tangy and refreshing taste.

A lemon fillet not only reduces the smell of fish, but the fruity taste of the fruits neutralizes the brine and complements the fish and seafood dishes.

Make more delicious desserts

Most desserts, especially in the United States, are sweet and sweet, but sometimes just a trickle of fresh coulis to make your sweet tooth sing. Grout is a fine fruit purée used in sauce.

You can make a fruit coulis by following this recipe:


1 cup fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of sugar
Lemon juice freshly squeezed from half a lemon

In a medium saucepan, combine your ingredients and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. When it starts to boil, transfer to a blender. Mash your ingredients and filter your sauce to keep the strawberry seeds.

Grout is great on the cheesecake, or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream garnished with fresh strawberries – enjoy!

The best part of cooking or cooking is that you can create something that looks great and tastes great.

Some foods go well together, others do not. But if you experiment with different ingredients, you could find the chef inside!

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