Friday, March 9, 2012

Mahi with Cauliflower "Mashed Potato", Green Beans & Broccoli

"Presentation is there for fifteen seconds; ultimately it's the flavor that holds the memory."
Gordon Ramsay

One of my favorite quotes from one of my kitchen mentors.  He's absolutely right.  

No matter how lovely a course may be composed, if it tastes like the dog's dinner, no one will remember it.

Likewise, if a dish looks like a pile of shit but is magic in the mouth, people will remember it.

Now does it have to be either extreme?  Of course not.  My food is evidence of that...silly people.

I live for plating.  It's my creative outlet; a blank canvas to play in.  Food has to taste good, that's a given.  I've been cooking since I was 12, learning to create flavor profiles, layering flavors, varying textures and temperatures within courses.

However, it was not until 2001 when I read The French Laundry Cookbook that my mind was totally opened to plating.  Thomas Keller's flawless and exquistie presentations blew my mind.  That freak was making food look otherworldly.  I wanted my food to look like that.

Now, I am no Thomas Keller, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I will share some of my thoughts on what it takes me to try and make food look half-decent.
  • Curiosity - Colors, textures, and shapes all play a role.  You can't just throw it on a plate and it's ready to go to the pass.  Think about how it looks, move things around, investigate.
  • Patience - Give yourself a break.  It may not happen on the first go.  Sometimes I plate a dish 10 times before I am happy.  It's an organic process.
  • Persistence - It may take weeks, months or years to find your voice, or in this case style.  Quitters never win though.
The point is not to copy the way someone plates a dish.  Any asshole can do that.

True creation is honestly expressing the self.  To be able to stare at a completed dish and honestly say inside your heart of hearts, "Fuckin' A, that's me on the plate right there.

Learn concepts, techniques, theories and apply them.  Express yourself, it's fun.

Quickly about this dish cause your attention span went about 3 minutes before you came here today.

  • Cauliflower puree makes an awesome fake "mashed potato."
  • Green beans are the universe's gift to cooks.
  • When searing fish on a pan, DO NOT USE TOO MUCH OIL, or you will never get a good sear.  You want maximum fish contact with the pan.
  • If you are frantically searching for the's the pretty dots.
  • The pepper used on the cauliflower was Piment d'Espelette.  Thanks Tanantha.
That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. you always put out such striking plates. thanks for the insight!

  3. Lazro always your food look delicious and nice!!!

  4. interesting post! this is so beautiful and mouthwatering!

  5. The broccoli was of your best to date...impresionante!

  6. Love your style :) That's definitely you on the plate! All the people who don't like broccoli should try it the Laz way.

  7. I have been looking forward to this post ever since I saw the picture on Facebook :) It sounds as delicious as it looks! And your pictures and presentation are flawless! Thank you for sharing this!

  8. Well done, as always, Laz. Question: do you puree the caulflower in a food processor or blender? I find it's hard to get a nice smooth texture like potato just from mashing.

    I like to present my dishes in a pretty way too, though not as intricate as you. I try to have an objective eye, where does that herb sit, is there balance without overly obvious symmetry and what about colour? I also try to take photos of my plates to titillate the taste buds with close ups. Of course, its good to remember to wipe the plates too...Thanks for 'splainin'!

  9. PS: The fish looks evenly and perfectly cooked.

  10. You have a way with words and plating too. Beautiful presentation. No doubt a memorable mouth experience as well.


  11. This looks divine, I will definitely be trying my hand at it. Thanks for posting it!

  12. I always love your fish dishes, Laz. And the plating is, of course, flawless. I really need to watch and learn when it comes to that -- I need to be more patient, lol!

  13. So perfectly seared and beautifully plated. I want EVERYTHING you make on here lol. Enjoy the rest of your weekend Laz!

  14. I keep coming back to this post, I am adding this to the menu next week!

  15. Yes your dishes are indeed evidence can have both :) Beautifully plated dish, with gorgeous layers of flavor!

  16. Truly inspiring, Laz. I hear you, love you style, creativity and agree totally that it has to come from your own heart. Brilliant!

  17. Love that Ramsey quote, though I'm not particularly fond of him.

    I don't know that I could do 10 rounds of plating...unless I ate first...but I do appreciate the cooking and plating tips offered here.


Have Your Say!