Have you ever wondered what’s in those syrupy garnishes poured over dishes to make them more attractive? From appetizers to desserts, this chef's secret weapon is used as a plate decoration on many kinds of dishes, especially in the kitchens of fine dining restaurants.
Whether it’s fruit or vegetables, even a small amount of a coulis will add to the beauty of a dish. So, to find out what this secret is all about, here are the essential facts that you need to know about a coulis.
What Is A Coulis?
A coulis, correctly pronounced as [koo-lee], is a creamy blended puree made out of fruits or vegetables. Some creative chefs, however, create it by straining or diluting preserved fruits or jams with a simple syrup or water.
It can also be made extra sweet with some sugar. Spices and acids, such as citrus juice, can be used as seasoning. A coulis is a product of the chef’s creative mind and it’s a vital part of the restaurant’s secret art of making our plates more attractive. It does not just provide flavor, it also adds great elegance.
However, as a general cooking rule, having too much and too little of a thing is not good for a dish. So accuracy is the key. Too much ingredients can make your coulis taste muddy and look unattractive. The aim here is to make the dish mouthwatering to look at.
Would you consider eating a seared scallop that had a muddy looking puree poured over it? Of course not. Some examples of coulis are raspberry, roasted red pepper, strawberry, and tomato.
How Did It Start?
The term was originally derived from the French word “couler”, which means to flow or to strain. In contrast to how it is defined today, coulis wasn't initially regarded as a puree, but instead was a juice that had been strained from cooked meat.
As time went by, it changed into a soup of a thick consistency that was made from pureed fish or meat. However, this type of coulis was not so popular, so it evolved instead into shellfish soup. Today, ‘cullis’ is referred to as a puree, strained gravy or broth, and is usually used as a condiment or food garnish.
What Are Its Uses?
You can use a coulis in a lot of creative ways. Here are some of them:
1. Flavor Additive
Most of the time, it is used as a complementary flavor for vegetables and meat dishes. The blended tastes of the coulis and the main dish make the taste buds crave for more.
2. Plate Decoration
Yes, do not underestimate the power of the coulis to attract customers. Whether it is in the form of red dots, circles, pools, and swirls, coulis adds a great deal to the dish’s overall appearance. It stimulates and unleashes the chef’s creative juices.
3. Soup Garnish
When it comes to soups and sauces, coulis never fails to make a dull, bland-looking soup interesting.
Fruit coulis, like strawberries and cherries, are usually used as dessert toppings. The fruits are meticulously sieved by using a chinois strainer, which results in the smooth and rich appearance of a coulis. This coned-shape type of strainer is used exclusively for soups and purees due to its fine mesh.
How Do We Make Coulis?
Making coulis is quite easy because it is just a matter of mixing and straining the ingredients. You just need to exert some physical effort. Within only 15 minutes, you’ll be able to make one on your own!
Here are the steps to make these three common coulis recipes that you might like:
In conclusion, dishes would look dull and ordinary without the addition of a little culinary design. Cooking becomes an art form with a coulis.