October 01, 2011

Tavola Blogger Breakfast Part 3 – Japanese plating and Beef Marinade Recipe

In my first article on the Tavola Blogger Breakfast I focused on kitchen knives, what each knife is used for and how to care for your knives.  The second article focused on food styling for food bloggers.  In this final review, I will go through the basics of Japanese plating followed by an easy marinade recipe for beef that's perfect for entertaining.

Wakami Saab, Retail Manager for Tavola, gave us an insightful presentation on how Japanese cuisine is plated.  I never realized there was an actual method to how Japanese food is presented, and now I can understand why it always looks so minimalist and yet so precise.  There are basic rules and concepts you have to know before you can be creative with your plating.  As a home cook and food writer, I’m always looking for new ways of presenting my food.  This is a great method to use for plating anything from an ordinary salad to a main meal.

Arrangement style:
Food is plated in the shape of a pyramid or mountain onto the plate.  

Contrast – numbers, shapes, colours:
Use contrasting shapes, for example round vegetables are served on a square plate.  The potato salad below shows the concepts of stacking food and using contrasting shapes.

Always use odd numbers like 3, 5 or 7 – three being the most commonly used number.  For example, place three appetizers onto a plate.

Use 5 colours in your plating – White, black (or brown), red, yellow and blue (green is also referred to as blue).  The use of contrasting colours is important in the presentation and may include the dish, food and garnish.

There should always be 30% of empty space on the plate.  

Another dish that was presented was a marinated roast beef.  Thinly sliced roasted or grilled beef fillet is placed on top of sliced lettuce and then garnished with vegetables of contrasting colours and shapes.  Two ingredients commonly used in Japanese cuisine are pickled ginger and radishes.  The pickled ginger is said to kill germs and radishes help with digestion.  Wakami Saab was kind enough to share her marinade recipe - unfortunately I couldn’t write it down fast enough so some of the measurements have been adjusted and you can do the same to your liking.  This is a great dish to make for entertaining because it can be made the day before.

Marinade for Grilled Beef Fillet
½ cup soya sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Vinegar
1 tbsp White wine (optional)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
Mix all the ingredients together.  Pour over grilled or roasted whole beef fillet and refrigerate overnight.  Serve thinly sliced, stacked over lettuce and various sliced vegetables.