Finishes with oil, vinegar, salts, or spices – or a combination – complete the flavor and texture of already cooked food just before it is served. Since cooking mutes the flavor of the ingredients, adding a drizzle or a shake to finish helps bring out important flavors, adds moisture, and balances the flavor of many dishes.
Professional chefs save their highest quality EVOOs and balsamics for drizzling over a dish immediately before it leaves the kitchen; the flavor and texture added by this simple step markedly improve the taste of food. We encourage you to do the same.
Finishes with Oil
It doesn’t require much oil–just ¼ to ½ a teaspoon per serving to add significant flavor and make a lackluster dish glisten with an appealing glow.
Using a pour spout, you can drizzle directly from the bottle or pour into a spoon from which you can pour the oil in a thin stream.
Finishes with Balsamic
You only need to drizzle or pour a small amount of balsamic on your food to finish. The sweetness of a dark or light balsamic and the additional flavor added by a flavored balsamic can do wonders with almost any dish.
Using a pour spout, you can drizzle directly from the bottle or pour into a spoon from which you can pour the balsamic in a thin stream.
Finishes with Salt
Salt is one of the five basic flavors that we process, along with sweet, sour, bitter, and umami (a pleasant, savory taste), so finishing dishes with salt makes a huge difference. We all know the salt shaker often gets used but as a cook, you can select your salt more carefully, using the right type for the right dish. We get salt from all over the world, and like olives and grapes, the area it comes from determines its flavor.
There are so many salts, it’s useful to taste and experiment with them but there are three that give you a lot of flexibility when finishing dishes.
Sel gris is coarse with a mineral taste – it makes a lot of sense for finishing a thick steak, robust vegetables, cheese, or chocolate.
Flake salt is more delicate and can be used with almost anything – put a small amount on lettuce, the structure complements the crispness of the lettuce while bringing out its flavor.
Fleur de sel can be used almost anywhere as a finishing salt. It is the pinnacle of finishing salts, melting slowly in the mouth with a pleasing, ocean quality to its flavor.
These are just three salts – workhorses all – but there are dozens of others to explore. The right finishing salt can elevate your dish from great to exceptional.