Deciding which side dish to serve with a delicious main course can be overwhelming. One thing you should always remember is that variety is crucial when it comes to sides. For instance, if you’re serving grains and pasta, it’s good to offer vegetables too. What you need most is a side that will complement the main course without creating a distraction. Having an assortment of cold and hot food is a great way to do this. But how do you make a perfect side without messing things up?
What Makes a Side Dish Great?
Here are the 5 key factors of a successful side dish:
Combining flavours that work is the trickiest part for both experienced and beginner chefs. For a proper side, you need to get the right flavours to complement the main course. That’s why ‘Flavour Bible’ remains an invaluable reference for the best flavour combinations. The book provides a list of herbs, seasonings other possible choices. The last thing you want is to overwhelm the main course with too many competing flavours. Balancing the flavours makes for a fantastic meal.
The texture is another element that appeals to the eye and something you need to consider seriously. Texture helps to create a mouth watering appearance even before the meal is served. Having a variety of texture in the form of side dishes will enhance your meal appeal significantly. A good example is fried chicken served with mashed potatoes and cabbage slaw: crunchy, smooth and crisp in a single meal. If you have a very saucy dish, you can improve the texture by adding a starchy side to soak up the juices – a great example is a curry with rice, braised short ribs over polenta.
When preparing a side dish it is crucial to make look visually appetizing. A good meal is one that enhances the appetite – we eat with our eyes. If you want to enhance the guest’s appetite, make the meal appeal through colours . Targeting certain colours in the side dishes is a great way to target the guest visually. For instance, if you are serving a brown meal such as tacos with beans, you should add some contrasting colour to the plate, for example a scoop of Spanish rice and avocado salad. This will give your meal a real wow factor.
Provide a Choice
Here at Art of Catering, we believe that variety is important when preparing a meal for guests. The guests might have a different preference for side dishes, or certain dietary requirements. For instance, you may have a vegetarian or a fussy child. It’s also important to concentrate on the richness and have at least two lighter side dishes.
Ease of Preparation
Ease of preparation is the last but not least element to consider. The time taken to prepare the side dish is crucial. If you are preparing a labour intensive meal, don’t serve it with a side that requires hours of preparation.