Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Make It Pretty!

My friend Lizzie used to work in a nightclub that was in the nether bits of a restaurant. Many people addressed the 2 drink minimum by ordering food (in addition to getting sloshed), and whenever I attended a show I was always struck by the attractiveness of the food making its way in the dimly lit, atmospheric club. I asked Lizzie, "What's up with those beautifully composed plates? I can barely see them in this den of iniquity." She replied, "It's a point of pride for our burly, macho chef. Before anything leaves the kitchen, he shouts, 'Make it pretty! Make it pretty!'" And they do.
In that spirit, I like to take an extra few moments to make my fruit platters attractive. If a hairy-fingered guy in a dark club can care, so can you.
Getting the hang of it might take some fiddling, as I did with these two platters. I thought the bold color of the blackberries really needed to go dead center, so I moved them around.

Something's a little off...

Ah, that's better!

My foremost goal is to have a tasty arrangement, but I must admit that sometimes (say, in December, when this platter was created), I might be willing to allow some flavor duds to enter the picture for some color. Green kiwi, I'm looking at you.

Besides the kiwi, everything on this platter was pretty flavorful. Oranges and grapefruits are generally good winter choices; here I cut off the peel then sliced the grapefruit. I'm sure I will be writing plenty about my beloved fuyu persimmon on another occasion. Here it provides a sunny jolt of color and a luscious tropical taste that balances out the more astringent citrus. The potentially dubious out-of-season cantaloupe was surprisingly sweet.

Some basic guidelines: Keep all fruit selections reasonably bite-sized; provide a mix of fruit; avoid fruit like apples and pears that get brown or mushy with air exposure; and let your platter size convey a sense of bounty.

Here's another platter I created, this time in late summer. I had scored some fantastic mangos and golden kiwis, but their colors needed some jazzing up.

This time the kiwis are green and golden. But the star might just be the mango.
Again, a sense of abundance is key. I like to prep my fruit and dump it in a bowl in advance. Here they are, waiting for their moment.

I feel so pale without my peel.

Prepping in advance means that I feel ready even if company comes early.  I've already taken care of the messy work like peeling and slicing the mango (and gnawing on the pit).  

Sometimes folks  need to be sold a bit on produce. Enticing fruit displays are my way of proselytizing.


  1. Sally, thanks so much for this interesting post about fruit platters. I am intimidated by entertaining, but the thought of some guy in a dimly lit bar putting his best foot forward is encouraging.

  2. Yes those Fez platters were a beautiful sight to behold!

  3. This blog is GREAT!! love the photos, love the content!

  4. Love your blog ! Everything is beautifully presented and yummy looking !

  5. Ohhh, I knew it! You are a perfect blog writer!
    I Love the fruit reviews....please don't deprive us of other fruit-newsworthy information!'n
    Apples are sooooo boring!
    Thank you again Sally!