It’s hard to think of the “final touch” when one hasn’t even heated up the oven yet. But whether you’re the host or a guest this Thursday, preparing a few simple garnishes in advance will allow you to finish the platters with ease come Thanksgiving Day. Sprigs of herbs and slices of citrus fruits make a beautiful, fresh~looking background for any dish.
If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, now would be a great time to curate a few herbal bouquets as you are out and about. If you are a guest, why not offer to bring along the garnishes for your host or hostess and adorn the platters for them? They will love you for giving them one less thing to worry about.
My first resource was the garden, where I clipped piles of hearty herbs and leaves. If the garden is bare, store bought herbs can be “freshened up” in glasses of water in the refrigerator overnight.
From the garden or the store, the stems should be trimmed to similar lengths (your fingers will become fantastically fragrant) before placing the herbs in glasses of water for nice hydrating drink to keep the leaves looking plump. I love having bouquets of herbs amassed on the kitchen counters, they look so fresh and festive.
Sprigs of soft Sage,
shiny bay laurel,
and bright citrus combine to make a beautiful background for any meal.
The trimmed herbs can be used to create a “garland” around the edge of a platter. To create a garland, place a sprig on the platter, then lay your next sprig on top of the first, so that the leaves cover the original stem. Continue working your way around the platter until it is encircled with greenery. Fill in any bare spots with more sprigs of herbs until the garland looks thick and evenly full.
If you are a guest for Thanksgiving and want to bring a garnish kit – it couldn’t be easier. Follow the steps above for trimming your sprigs and giving them a nice long drink. Then, just before departing for the party, pack the herbs into zip lock bags.
Slices of citrus can dry out, so it is best to slice the fruit within an hour of when the meal will be served. Bring along a bag of citrus. To be completely prepared, bring along a small cutting board and sharp knife (then you won’t have to ask the busy hostess for one).
I’m sure you will be invited back frequently!