If there is one thing social media has shown us, it’s that food is a very visual medium. Unlike other types of art, however, food plays to all of the senses—sound, texture, aroma and, most uniquely, flavor.
As art director for At Home with Kowalski’s, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make food beautiful, but my interest in making food look as good as it tastes extends beyond my job. In the same way I think about what shade of lipstick might complete my look, I also consider the last touches on the meals I make. Even the most rushed family fare always gets these three final considerations:
I start with deciding on a serving dish. Food can look very different depending on the size, shape and color of the dish on which it’s served. I tend to favor white plates with no pattern and choose a “canvas” that will allow for the composition I’m looking for; it’s never good for food to look crowded, but neither do I want to see more of my plate than my meal.
Next, I select a garnish or two, even something as simple as a bit of lemon zest, finishing salt or a sprig of cilantro can turn dinner into dining. Garnishes can provide visual interest but also textural or temperature contrasts, which can heighten the overall experience of a dish.
Finally, just as I don’t leave the house before checking to see if my mascara has migrated, I don’t serve supper without checking for spills and always wipe any splatters or drips from the edges of a plate before taking it to the table.
White Fish Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema
- 1 lb. fresh white fish, such as cod, cut into three evenly-sized pieces
- 4 oz. Kowalski’s chipotle lime vinaigrette
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- 8 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
- Garnishes, to taste, shredded Kowalski’s Mexican blend cheese, coleslaw mix, chipotle lime crema and fresh cilantro leaves
Marinate fish in vinaigrette and spices for 20 minutes. Remove fish from marinade, and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated 425 degrees F oven for 10–12 minutes until done. Then broil on high for two minutes. Heat tortillas, one at a time, in a large skillet over medium-high heat until softened (about 30 seconds per side). Wrap them in a clean, slightly moist dish towel to keep them warm and soft. Gently break fish into bite-sized pieces, and evenly distribute them on warm tortillas; top with, cheese, cabbage, chipotle lime crema and cilantro. Fold in half; serve immediately.
Chipotle Lime Crema
Makes ~1 cup
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 medium whole chipotle in adobo sauce, more or less, to taste
- 1 Tbsp. (approx.) Kowalski’s freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 1½ tsp. lime zest
- 1 tsp. adobo sauce
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground Kowalski’s black peppercorns, to taste
Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender; pulse until all ingredients are incorporated and chipotle pepper is completely broken up. Add additional pepper and adobo sauce if desired. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Rachael Perron is the culinary & brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications.