Friday, February 25, 2011

The Quenelle: a Quick How-To

Lauren Rauh

Do you ever find yourself wanting to give your home cooked meals a little aesthetic boost? Or more likely, do you ever marvel at the artful plating at some restaurants? At my new job (yes I'm still alive and kicking!) I've learned some of these tricks to creating eye-pleasing presentations of yummy food. One of these tricks is called quenelling, or making quenelles. Quenelle refers to both a specific food (usually a small meat dumpling) and/or a specific football-esque shape. The shape and simple technique to make it, is often used to present a dollop of some soft material, like clotted cream, a soft cheese, or chocolate ganache. With only the ingredients in my very bare refrigerator at my disposal, I chose to "quenelle" with peanut butter. What you will need is two spoons, a glass of water, and a plate of choice to present your lovely quenelles.

Wet your spoons by quickly dipping them in the glass of water. Shake off the excess water and take one spoonful of your delicious spread, cream, etc. of choice. Turn the bowl of the spoon towards you. Place the bowl of the other spoon over the [peanut butter] and apply slight pressure.

Scoop the top spoon down and towards you by sliding it against the other spoon (back to bowl) effectively scooping up the peanut butter on the new spoon.

Dip and shake the first spoon in your glass and press and scoop again. Repeat this once or twice more before placing the quenelle on the plate (or on top of a piece of cake, or pie, etc.).

Peanut butter may not be the most attractive quenelle...

Speed is (eventually) key here to make sure that the spoons don't get sticky, the quenelle misshapen, and the ingredient too soft from so much handling. Your plating will never be the same, happy quenelling!
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