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Quenelles dress up a plate

Use this chef's trick to give your dish restaurant-style flair

Fine Cooking Issue 84
Photos: Scott Phillips
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Sometimes all that stands between home cooking and restaurant-quality food is presentation. There are lots of tricks up a chef’s sleeve for stage-dressing food, and one of them is the quenelle. The term traditionally refers to a small football-shaped dumpling of poached meat or fish pâté, but these days it’s generally used to describe a three-sided oval shape that makes for a classy presentation of ice cream, goat cheese, crème fraîche, mashed potatoes, or anything soft and scoopable. To make a quenelle, all you need are two spoons of the same size. The spoons’ size determines the quenelle’s size.

Hold a spoon in each hand with the bowls facing each other. With one spoon, scoop up a heaping spoonful of ice cream (or other food). Raspberry sorbet is shown here.
Press the second spoon against the side of the ice cream and scoop the contents out of the first spoon. You should have a nice smooth side where the ice cream rested against the first spoon.
Repeat to form a third side. If it’s not shaped to your liking, keep scooping until you have a nice three-sided football shape.


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