Deconstructed v Non Deconstructed plating

One of the more interesting trends in food over the last decade or so (possibly longer), is the idea of a deconstructed meal.  In short, it involves taking all the resident components of a dish, say a chicken parmesan, and leaving one or more components separated.  In an effort to keep pushing boundaries, many top chefs began moving components of a meal from an aggregated whole, to separate components on the same, or even different plates.

Here’s an example of such a meal from the great people at The Seasonlist (

Chicken Parmesan with Lemon Fettuccini & Asparagus

And now, here’s a more traditional version we did late last year.

chicken parm

You’ll note the plating in the second pic generally incorporates all the items typically seen in a classic chicken parm dish appropriately.  Both meals plate up quite well.  The deconstructed meal also gives the host/chef an opportunity to draw equal attention to both key components of a classic chicken parm:  the chicken, and the accompanying pasta.

Here’s a clever one for a classic down south experience – the shrimp seafood boil.  First the constructed, and then the deconstructed version.


deconstructed shrimp boil

That first pic came from the lovely and skilled Kathy Marker over at “Hungry Again” (  Tell you what – I want an invitation to her next party!  I’ll say the same thing about the second pic, which comes to us from the equally lovely “DC Ladies.”  You can get a ton of great ideas at their site with pics of this specific dish at the following link:

Done hors d’oeuvre style, it’s a nifty spin on the original deep south classic.  Of course, done THIS way, you can also adjust for the spiciness of the dish, in case you have guests with different heat tolerances, especially young kids. This dish also tends to adhere to a common serving point with food, in that the content of a well plated dish will have three like items plated.

Going to share one last deconstructed dish before calling it a day.  Serving up a classic spinach and sausage lasagna here from “Deliciously Declassified” (


Sometimes, a dish with this much color and ‘oomph’ just needs to sit by itself on a plate.  Also it’s done in the classic style of a full meal serving.

Going for hors d’oeuvre sizing once more, we have this version from “Glow Kitchen” (

deconstructed lasagna

All of us that do quality home cooking should use some of these images as inspiration to play with your food…before plating it. 



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